By Mark Brasfield

Wednesday, August 8, 2001

Democrat Editor

Area youths will kick off a new sport this fall at the Trumann Sports Complex.

The complex is offering for the first time in Trumann a youth soccer program for boys and girls, which includes leagues six and under, eight and under and 10 and under.

The program is also new to a new face in Trumann, Sharron Turman, who is the interim director of the Trumann Parks and Recreation Department.

"This project was pretty much built and I was invited to one of their meetings to talk about A.S.A. softball since I am an A.S.A. deputy commissioner and while at that meeting they were discussing different aspects of the complex," Turman said. "Being that I had run the Jonesboro complex for eight years I just started giving them a little input here and there and they just offered me the job...They asked me if I would run the fall softball program and I said yes I would. And they said by the way we would like to start soccer, and I know nothing about soccer. But, I'm willing to learn anything. Since it's a new sport to the community we can just all learn together."

Despite being new to Trumann, some citizens have already shown an interest in the program.

"Everyday I have three or four phone calls, saying that they're really excited about the sport being here," Turman said. "Some people have actually been driving to Jonesboro. Some of the people last year went to Marked Tree to play in that soccer league. I think it's going to be very well received. It's just a sport in between baseball, softball, basketball and football. It will still keep their child occupied. It's a time a kid can stay active with their friends."

There is a fall and spring soccer league. The fall league closes a gap that has no sports and keeps children active in sporting events virtually all year long.

"This is kind of a fill in sport that any child can play," Turman. "If they can't hit a ball with a bat they can at least kick a ball."

Because of the newness of soccer to Trumann, the department wants children to focus on learning the sport and not so much records or trophies.

"This is going to be treated as a non-competitive league," Turman said. "We're going to set it up where the children can learn the sport, have a good time and work well with their peers. Everyone will get a participation award and maybe a pizza party at the end or something like that. We probably won't even keep score in the lower age groups. 10 and under we may get a little more competitive because that's where the guys-- Don Woody, Rick McKenzie and Rick Knutson- are going to be probably associated with the 10 and under. They know a little more about the rules and they want to be a little more competitive."

The league will be associated with the Arkansas Soccer Association and the U.S. Youth Soccer Association. When the athletes sign up for the league, the parks department will give them a guide explaining the different aspects of the sport.

"One reason we are associating ourselves with the U.S Youth Soccer Program is because they might as well get a good start with this association," Turman said. "Then when they go on up into the more competitive soccer in high school they are actually awarded scholarships."

Turman said she expects the league to grow a little more each year.

"I think each year we'll have more children involved," Turman said. "It's a new sport and sometimes when you go into a new sport it's a little bit scarry because you don't know the rules and you don't know what to expect. But, I think once the children see how the game is played and how much fun it is- that's one reason we're having the Super Soccer Saturday."

Super Soccer Saturday, which will be held Aug. 25 at 9 a.m. at the complex, will include skill games such as kicking a ball through a hoop, timed races, exercises that show how far the child can kick the ball and other contests. Participants will also be tutored by members of the Arkansas State University Girls Soccer team. Registration forms are available at the complex, the Trumann Chamber of Commerce and Baker Lumber Co.

The Trumann police "Cops for Kids" officers will be in attendance along with the Poinsett County DARE officer and his souped-up car. The Trumann fire department will have its fire truck available to go along with the Medic One unit.

"The soccer (program) is historic," Turman said. "I encourage the parents to bring their cameras to record their children being a part of the first soccer in Trumann."

An organizational soccer meeting is scheduled for Aug. 9 at the Trumann Chamber of Commerce building. The meeting will be used to search for coaches, referees and field directors.

Don Woody, a teacher at Weiner, has developed a webpage (www.eteamz.com/trumannsoccer), promoting the new league for the parks department.

Softball

The complex also has Fall softball, ASA sanctioned, leagues for men, co-ed and girls fast-pitch. The registration deadline is Aug. 29 at 5 p.m.

The season begins in about six weeks, and forms are available at the sports complex, chamber of commerce and the T-shirt Gallery in Jonesboro.

For more information call 483-1098.

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