The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

High School Sports

February 19, 2014

YMCA bringing spring high school soccer to Beckley

— With spring comes lush green grass, blue skies and new beginnings.

Now, thanks to the YMCA of Southern West Virginia, it also brings high school soccer.

Starting in April, the YMCA will offer a soccer league for boys and girls ages 13-18. Games will be played on Wednesday evenings at the Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex in Beckley.

The league was the brain child of YMCA assistant program director Jason Logan and Beckley soccer mainstay John Birkelbach.

“I’ve always tried to think of ways to improve soccer in Beckley,” Logan said. “John and I were talking about it and thought it would be a good idea if we could have some kind of weekly, small sided league that could incorporate playing more.”

Logan, who formerly served as the director of coaching for the West Virginia Rapids Soccer Club, wants to see players from all over southern West Virginia come out for the unique league.

“We’re interested to get guys and girls from schools other than Woodrow Wilson,” he said. “We want to reach out to the Oak hill area, Princeton, PikeView and draw all of those teams. Our thoughts behind it is that these kids need to play more and more often. The more they play, the better.”

Logan feels that the lack of playing time creates a problem in the development of young athletes.

“With high school kids, it seems there are a lot of them who just play in high school,” he said. “They don’t play travel soccer for whatever reason, whether its the cost or if they have other commitments. This gives them an opportunity to play more often than just the fall season.”

The league, which will feature boys and girls from U-14 through U-18, will be 6 vs. 6 and will be played on the U-10 fields.

The playing surface is 70 feet wide and 45 feet in width.

“It’s going to give them a fun environment,” he said. “It’s going to be a smaller sided game. It will be faster paced, which is going to require quick decisions.”

Also unique to the league will be the leadership structure for each team. Logan says each squad will have a team captain, but no coach.

“We figured they could bring coaches if they wanted, but they’re given the freedom to coach themselves,” he said. “We’re going to have a meeting with the team captains and hold them responsible. This gives them the freedom to police themselves. If it becomes a problem, we’ll take care of it. But these are high school kids. We’re going to give them the freedom and responsibility.”

At present time, the plan is for the league to be co-ed, unless enough girls sign up to run a separate girls league.

The league will run April 9 through June 18. Registration is $40 for YMCA members and $60 for non-members through March 28.

Players may register as individuals or as a team. Forms are available at the YMCA and online at

For additional information, contact Logan or Daniel Vass at 304-252-0715 or email Logan at

— E-mail: jrollins and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.

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