SILER CITY — Local soccer is kicking off in Siler City.
Siler City Futbol Club — a non-profit soccer club aiming to “create an inclusive soccer community through opportunities in Siler …
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SILER CITY — Local soccer is kicking off in Siler City.
Siler City Futbol Club — a non-profit soccer club aiming to “create an inclusive soccer community through opportunities in Siler City,” according to its website — has officially had its first two travel teams take the pitch.
The under-17 men’s team competed in the Southern Soccer Boys Showcase from Feb. 26-28, coming in first place in the Gold Division with a 3-0 record (wins of 3-1, 7-4 and 6-1), while the under-15 men’s team just finished up competition in the Durham Futsal League, where they finished second in their division for the season.
“That was really successful, just getting the guys playing and getting the name out there,” said Siler City FC’s interim president Chad Morgan. “And 90% of the players are from Siler City or the surrounding area and they’ve been together for a while. … I told those guys, ‘Y’all are kind of carrying the flag for us. We want kids to look up to you. This is what we want our kids to strive for.’”
The U17 and U15 men’s teams were already well-established teams in the Chatham Soccer League that ended up being “left out” and their teams were going to dissolve, according to Morgan. That’s when Siler City FC came in, scooped them up, got the teams registered under U.S. Soccer and put them under the club’s umbrella.
However, the club’s travel soccer opportunities start and end there.
Since the first story about Siler City FC appeared in the News + Record on Jan. 6, Morgan and the club’s 10 other board members have been working diligently to solidify their plans for its future, choosing to bypass the possibility of a spring season in hopes to gear up for recreational leagues in the fall of this year.
Siler City FC’s focus will be on co-ed rec leagues for ages 4-13 this fall, with more competitive — and travel — opportunities coming in the future for ages 10 and older.
“The comments (from parents) have been, ‘Why aren’t you playing in the spring?” said Morgan. “We want to jump in, but at the same time, we want to make sure we’re organized and doing this right and that we have something that’s worth putting out on the field and worth the parents wanting to be a part of.”
Morgan cited other organizations that “have rushed and failed” to create soccer leagues in Siler City as a reason to take things slower and shoot for fall instead of spring. He mentioned he wants to take the time to build relationships within the community before recreation play begins.
As a non-profit, Siler City FC continues to look for ways to help fund the club ahead of its inaugural season by applying for grants, working to initiate partnerships with local businesses for sponsorship opportunities and encouraging donations from the community.
“We are a non-profit, really sticking to bringing affordable soccer to Siler City and with that, it’s going to require costs,” said Morgan. “We’re not doing this to become a business, we’re doing this to get opportunities for kids in the community that really have very limited opportunities.”
Siler City — deemed “Soccer City” on the club’s website — is an area rich with passion and talent for soccer. Yet, there are few chances for the city’s youth to play organized soccer in their own backyard.
Siler City FC was created with the idea that kids shouldn’t have to travel to the other side of Chatham County — or any other counties — to practice and play the sport they love. Morgan and the other board members had a vision for a soccer organization that gave Siler City “something to be proud of,” so they brought it to life.
In addition to the business side of the club, Siler City FC plans to reach out to schools in the area to partner with and secure spots to host practices and games this fall. That’s next on the agenda.
“Right now, many of our kids are having to play outside of the county, so one thing this is going to address immediately is for kids and families to be able to play in-county, at their home,” said Paul Cuadros, Jordan-Matthews men’s soccer head coach and Siler City FC board member. “That’s really significant because of travel, for one thing, and the ability for parents to go see their kids play and be able to host games in their community.”
Morgan hopes Siler City FC will be able to host a “come and see event” for interested families at Bray Park in June, where they’ll be able to learn all about the club and what it has to offer.
In an attempt to reflect its mission of affordability, registration for the club’s youth leagues will also begin at the kickoff event in June, with fees amounting to $70 for registration with an extra $20 tacked on for first-time players as a uniform fee. The plan would be for players to keep their uniforms for use in multiple seasons, hence the one-time payment.
Play is scheduled to start in August.
In comparison, Chatham Soccer League’s fees range from $115 to $135 per player, except for its U4 team, which costs $30.
For Morgan, the success of Siler City FC will truly be a community effort, including keeping it afloat financially through local means and parents donating their time to be volunteer coaches, fundraisers or behind-the-scenes helpers.
“It’s going to take the community to make this successful,” Morgan said. “That’s why it’s going to be important for us to get out and start sharing our message and sharing our vision with the community, with business owners, with individuals, to get them on board.”
His pitch to parents who are thinking about getting their kids involved in soccer?
“This is really open to everybody, soccer is for everybody,” Morgan said. “You don’t have to be a certain size, you don’t have to have a certain skill set, because you’re going to learn the skill sets. … We just want to give our kids opportunities, see where this can take them and have fun.”
Reporter Victor Hensley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @Frezeal33.