Youth Soccer returns to the Jensen Center

By Brent Frankenhoff

After a two-year absence, the Jensen Community Center’s Youth Soccer program is returning to the athletic fields near the facility. We’re excited about the opportunity to play on the Tomorrow River Schools’ new fields and are adjusting our field layout to work with the new facilities. A special thanks to Athletic Director Shawn Groshek, soccer coach Bill Spees, and the school’s maintenance supervisor Robert Smith for their help in finalizing our plans.

With this return to these fields and amidst the current health guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be some modifications to the program. Our policies and procedures will mirror those of the school’s athletic program, including limiting spectators and asking all who attend games to check in for contact tracing.

As this is written in the coldest days of winter so far, it seems as though spring is a long way off but the spring thaw will be here before we know it, and the kids will all be full of energy and ready to run.

The Jensen Community Center Youth Soccer program provides just the outlet needed to get outside. Every spring, kids from 4K all the way through eighth grade look forward to building their soccer skills and getting exercise while having fun with their friends and classmates. In 2019, more than 300 children participated in our program. Games are played Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings for five weeks starting April 22 and ending on May 22 it is the perfect break from indoor winter sports and leads right into summer vacation.

Our sixth- through eighth-grade teams end their season with a final tournament. The competition heats up, and they play their very hardest in hopes of a trophy or ribbon. The ice cream social on the final tournament day, May 22, is also something everyone looks forward to. This year, to minimize potential exposure, we are planning to hand out individually wrapped treats rather than hand-scooping ice cream.

You can sign up online at lettiejensencenter.org under the Sports tab. The online forms are divided into two groups—K-8 and 4K. The grade each child is in this school year is the one that determines which group they are in. You’ll also find a registration form below or you can stop at the Jensen Community Center and fill out a paper registration form. The registration fee is $35 per child. Sign up by March 15 to guarantee a team t-shirt and to avoid the $10 additional charge for late registration. Scholarships are available upon request.

There are many teams that will need coaches this year. Even if you don’t have a child playing on a team, consider sharing your time and coaching a team. You do not need prior soccer experience to coach, just a willingness to make a fun and memorable season for some kids.

We are also looking for referees, adult or high school age, and these are paid positions.

You’ll find more information for both positions elsewhere in this issue.

If you are interested in coaching or becoming a referee or volunteering for the many behind-the-scenes tasks that make the season run, including picking up cones after games, getting nets placed and lines painted before the season starts, helping with contact tracing this year, or handing out ice cream on the final day, feel free to contact Soccer Coordinator Amber Winkelman at (715) 340-8675 or ambywinks@gmail.com. She can also answer questions you may have about the program.

This program couldn’t happen without all the volunteers who donate their time and energy, as well as the sponsors of each team, and we appreciate every one of you. We are looking forward to a great season!

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