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Soccer Saturday at Mill Creek

Rec Department leagues take over the park

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    Shouts of encouragement pierce the mid-morning air during fall Saturday’s at Mill Creek Park.
    “Go!” Run, run!” “Not that way, the other way!” “Kick it in!”
    The words of support come from parents, relatives and friends of girls and boys playing in the Statesboro-Bulloch County Parks and Recreation Department’s soccer leagues. Play began for 365 youngsters in early September and games are held throughout the county – Brooklet, Nevils and Portal. But the hub of youth soccer activity in Bulloch is Saturday mornings at Mill Creek.
    Darryl Hopkins, who has run the youth rec leagues for the department since 1999, said the 365 who signed up in five age groups – Under-6, Under-8, Under-10, Under-12 and Under-14 – is more than last year.
    “I don’t know if it’s a record, but it’s a lot of kids having fun,” Hopkins said. “You go out (to Mill Creek) Saturday mornings and it’s noisy, too!”
    The complex has more than a dozen soccer fields of varying length and width, according to the age group. There are so many games, the leagues use a couple of the baseball fields, as well.
    “The families bring out their lawn chairs and cheer their kids on,” Hopkins said. “That’s a joyful sound.”
    Hopkins made a point of thanking the dozens of volunteers who coach the teams. Many are parents coaching their child’s team.
    “We couldn’t run these leagues without the volunteers giving their time,” he said. “We are grateful they care to be involved.
    After Thursday, the soccer leagues will take a two-week break. The last “soccer Saturday” of the fall season is scheduled for Oct. 28. But they’ll be back in the spring.
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