There were shootouts and down-to-the-wire finishes Saturday at Pistole Park as the youth soccer season came to thrilling conclusion.
It was a year that saw record participation and record attendance, according to Warren County Youth Soccer president John Upchurch. There were 570 kids who played in the league.
“It was a fabulous year and I think we can see how our level of soccer is increasing,” said Upchurch. “This will speak well for us down the road when these players get to the middle school and high school levels.”
To commemorate the season, the Standard is publishing a special section in Friday’s edition that will feature team photos from all the teams which competed at Pistole Park this fall.
Upchurch said the league is working to fulfill the need for recreational soccer in the community, while also branching out to provide teams for players interested in high-level competition. He said coaches can now register through Warren County Youth Soccer to attain the certification necessary to coach a travel soccer team. There have also been 3 vs. 3 tournaments at Pistole Park which have attracted teams from Tullahoma, Manchester, Winchester and Livingston.
To accommodate the more competitive teams, Field 1 was redone by the city to make it a first-class field. It was supposed to be available for the fall season, but it wasn’t ready in time.
“It will be used by the youth league and for when we bring in select teams,” said Upchurch. “Before we can get going full speed ahead with some really big tournaments, we’ll probably have to have two or three fields that are in that type of condition.”
For children anxious to continue playing soccer, indoor soccer will be offered at McMinnville Civic Center. The indoor league will begin playing games in January.
This spring will be the fourth year for spring soccer at Pistole Park. Practice begins in March with doubleheaders being played four Saturdays in April for a total of eight games.
“We’re done in April because we want to keep the overlap between baseball and T-ball to a minimum,” said Upchurch.
He said another major consideration moving forward is continuing to add to the number of state-certified referees who call games at Pistole Park.