COLUMBIA — The Raptors, from Pacific, played in the under 10-year-old boys recreational soccer division. According to coach Tim Ottens, the team had won the Show-Me State Games the previous year for their division.
During the game, they concentrated on the game and cheered each other on.
The coaches shouted words of encouragement and what kind of plays to make such as, “Don’t turn, don’t turn!” and “Cut in!”
When the players would run off the field as another player took their place on the field, coaches would shake their hands or pat them on the back while giving advice on how to improve their play. “One of my favorite things is seeing what you practice applied to the games,” said Ottens.
Ottens got involved in coaching the team because he had played soccer for most of his life, and his son was a member of the team.
Parents and supporters sat in the shade and under tents watching the teams play. During the breaks in the games, children would huddle around water coolers, sometimes talking about the game. Sports bags full of soccer balls could be found all over the sidelines of the fields.
Soccer games continue today and will resume July 25 through July 27.
Several divisions played, ranging from players under 6 years old to players over 40 years old with team names such as Thunder, Wild Things and Wizards. Teams were also split into competition and recreation play.
Rick Goddy of Hartsburg sat under a shady tree before running out to a soccer field to referee another soccer game. He has been refereeing games for a year after coaching soccer for years. Goddy said he works about three to five games a day.
“It’s a great opportunity to be around the kids,” Goddy said. “Every game is enjoyable.”