Last Saturday concluded another successful season for Shore Soccer. Over the last five years, the league has continued to grow and excel. According to league president Liz Jones, “Over the last four years, the number of players has more than doubled.”
In 2014 the league boasted 185 players; 264 in 2015, 326 in 2016, and 379 in 2017.
“We do have some room to expand,” said Board Member Chris Glennon. “There is some land that is being leased for farming right now, but we have that if we need to add additional fields.”
The strong growth of soccer on the shore is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Shore Soccer Board Members Liz Jones, Charlene Dix, Michael Purvis and Chris Glennon. While they can always to be found on the field Saturdays either coaching, refereeing or managing the administration table, the entire off-season is spent planning for next season, trying to find ways to make the league even better.
Shore Soccer is also a unique partnership between the league and local businesses.
“We really appreciate all the support from our local businesses. They do so much to make Shore Soccer possible, “Liz Jones said.
This season, Team Sponsors ($250) were Cape Charles Christian School, Brown Dog, HM Terry, Xenith Bank, Chuckletown and The Shanty.
Field Sponsors ($150) were Cherrystone Aqua Farms, The Oyster Farm, Island House Restaurant, Sunset Beach, Don Valerio’s, LJ Kellam Construction, American Shellfish Company, CC Yacht Center.
“We were also awarded money from United Way and we received a grant from the Eastern Shore Community Foundation to build two storage sheds for the fields. The Northampton High School buildings trade class is currently finishing up these buildings and we will have them for our 2018 season,” Jones said.
A big part of getting the fields ready, coaching and refereeing is handled by high school students from Northampton and Nandua. There were over 25 students that volunteered time and energy to the league both coaching and refereeing.
“On any given Soccer Saturday, we have 26 referee spots to fill. If we didn’t have these students helping, there is no way we could handle the volume of games that we do! And not only do our local kids help by refereeing and coaching, they also show up every Friday afternoon from 4-6 and help prepare the fields for games on Saturday,” Jones said.
With the 2017 season in the books, work is already beginning for next season. Shore Soccer, once a fledgling gap in lower shore sports, is quickly becoming the most widely participated. In many ways, like soccer worldwide, it is the most accessible and most integrated–on Saturday mornings at Randy Custis Field, folks from all ages, backgrounds and cultures come together to participate and watch a sport we all love and enjoy. We can hardly wait for next season.