On any given Tuesday or Thursday, a stream of children dressed in soccer gear can be seen making their way to the Lady Techsters soccer field. Initially, the number of children in attendance seems small but as their members grew, it resembled a large school class.
In charge of what appeared to be this class was Kevin Sherry, head coach of the Lady Techsters soccer team. Sherry said he wanted to spread soccer in northern Louisiana, but it took a mother’s idea to get him started.
“The idea came when a parent was not happy with her daughter playing park and recreation soccer co-ed,” Sherry said. “She asked if we could help, and we offered our services to coach girls only, but their skills improved so much that the boys wanted to take part too.”
Sherry said the clinics, with the help of Tech soccer players, are aimed at helping children between ages 7 and 12.
“If we can get them early enough, they will have a good soccer foundation,” Sherry said. “Hopefully this will influence the community, Ruston High School and Junior High team.”
The soccer clinics are free, and Sherry said it benefits the team as well.
“It helps the Lady Techsters understand the importance of giving instead of just taking,” Sherry said. “Also, the community is very helpful and they offer their own support in return for what we give to them. At games you’ll see a lot of supporters from the community.”
Senior midfielder Morgan Rockwell said she enjoys sharing soccer skills with the kids and admires their energy toward the sport.
“The most exciting part is seeing the kids’ enthusiasm when they come out,” she said. “You walk away knowing you helped out people in the community and you’re building the soccer community in north Louisiana.”
Rockwell said working with the kids brings her back to her childhood. She said she wished she had a college team to work with when she was a child, but she finds satisfaction in giving other children what she wished for as a child.
“When you share your passion with little kids who have the same passion its rewarding to see them get better each week,” she said. “It’s cool to see kids have the same enjoyment I had when I was little and hopefully they will continue to have it.”
Though one of the main objectives is to have fun, Rockwell said there are important lessons to be learned.
“You hope they have fun and enjoy it most of all,” she said, “but you hope in the long run it builds a sense of character where they learn hard work pays off and the more they put in toward the activities, the more they gain out of them.”
Rockwell said parents usually show their gratitude by telling them personally the positive impact they have on their children. Two of those parents are Jacquelyn Bean and Fred Poulin.
Bean said she was happy her daughter, Morgan Bean, has an avenue to enhance her soccer skills.
“She comes off the field absolutely positive and joyful every practice,” Bean said.
Bean said her daughter usually asks her if she saw a good play she made rather than a goal she scored. Bean added the Techsters serve as role models, especially for the girls.
“To see a strong female doing what she loves and coming out to work with the girls, it is phenomenal,” she said. “There is no other program we know of around here like that.”
Poulin said he was not sure if the Techsters voluntarily offered their service or they were fored to do it. However, he said they are always smiling when working with the kids, so it’s difficult to tell.
“We are grateful to have coach Sherry and these young ladies give their time because it is not a paid service, Poulin said. “This is the start of a movement that will hopefully make soccer bigger in north Louisiana.”
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