Jesse Miller, the new director of Youth Sports, and Tamara Johnson, Child and Youth Services administrator, showed their appreciation to soccer and volleyball coaches during a brief ceremony on Nov. 2.
The youth soccer ceremony took place at the Youth Sports Complex just before a soccer match for 9- and 10-year-olds.
The ceremony for youth volleyball coaches was held later that evening in the gymnasium of the Youth Center.
During both ceremonies, each coach was given a certificate of appreciation.
“We may not have enough funds for a pizza party every month, but a thank-you and a certificate goes a really long way,”Johnson said. “We truly appreciate all of the coaches’ time and hard work.”
The youngsters cheered loudly as each coach’s name was announced and presented with an award.
“This program can’t possibly run without volunteer coaches,” Miller said. “At this time, we have about 50 coaches all together, but we could still use more. The more the merrier.”
In order to become a volunteer coach, there are a few steps to take:
- Coaches’ certificate training
- Concussion training (online)
- Two-hour child abuse prevention training
- Pass background check
“I absolutely love coaching these children,” said Carlos Correa, head coach for soccer players ages 9-10, who works in Army computer security. “The best thing is when you get a kid who doesn’t like soccer at all, and then they grow to love it after playing.”
Zulema Gonzalez, who works in retail, is head coach of youth soccer teams for children ages 3-4 and 5-6.
“I volunteered last spring and loved it,” Gonzalez said. “I grew up playing soccer, so I know what it takes.”
Youth Sports has five different soccer teams grouped by age: 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10 and 11-14.
Miller said he needs about two coaches per team. Some coaches, he said, coach three teams at a time.
“We need as many kids and coaches as possible,” Miller said. “No matter how many we get, we’ll find a spot for you.”
During the cermony for youth volleyball coaches, each was presented with a certificate of appreciation alongside the coaches’ respective teams.
“I saw a sign that said ‘coaches needed,’ so I signed up,” said Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Matt Klaver, a head coach of the youth volleyball team.
“I’ve always loved volleyball. Plus, this is a great way to give back and enjoy the sport.”
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Kayla Riendeau is also a head coach for the youth volleyball team.
“I love coaching kids; it’s so much fun,” Riendeau said. “I’ve played sports all of my life, so this is great to be around.”
Volleyball and cheerleading have just been added to the winter league due to the help from the volunteer coaches.
Cheerleading will start for ages 7-13. Volleyball will start for ages 11-14.
All winter league sports are held from December to March.
“It’s really great fun coaching these kids,” Miller said. “We just want the kids to come out, have fun and play again the following year.”
Editor’s note: For more information or to volunteer, call Youth Sports at 301-677-1179.