By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
On almost every Saturday from late August to the first week of November, Beachfront Park became soccer central.On those days, the park was filled with excited children playing the game of soccer, cheered on by family and friends.
Last Saturday marked the last games of the season for the Del Norte Youth Soccer Association.
This year, 169 children from 4 to 15 years old took part in the league.
"It went really well," said Jackie Zlokovich, president of the Del Norte Youth Soccer Association. "The kids had a great time."
This year, the league had 40 head coaches, the most ever for the DNYSA.
Besides parents of children participating, there were coaches with no kids in the league, who wanted to help out and "be involved with kids," Zlokovich said. Also, four teens helped coach teams with the assistance of an adult.
Zlokovich said 2007 turned out to be "one of the best years" for the youth soccer program.
She said community support was high and she was impressed with the way both parents and children acted toward one another. There were no problems on the field or between parents. Everyone was at the games to cheer on the children and have a great time.
"It was like one big family," Zlokovich said.
The soccer program is a vital way to give the youth of the community a positive outlet and help them learn the importance of staying healthy and working together as a team. Soccer keeps children focused on an activity that can help them stay out of trouble, Zlokovich said.
The program is a great way to instill in children from an early age a love of soccer, she said. For many years, it has served as a feeder program to the Del Norte High School boys and girls soccer teams.
Zlokovich thanked all those who volunteered to make the season a success. This includes Doug and Teena Suzuki, who she said were her "right hand" helpers and did whatever it took each Saturday to make sure things ran smoothly. She said they did everything from handing out uniforms and refereeing, to lining the fields.
"I couldn't have done it without them," Zlokovich said.