News: Youths prepare for 2014 HMYAA Soccer Season
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - “Boot it!” shouts Coach Ben Jones. “Communicate!”
One child launches the soccer ball down Pop Warner Field while another runs out after it. One after the other, the members of Peewee Kaneohe Bay Team 1, The Stingers, take turns practicing offensive and defensive techniques. So far, with many returning players and a few new ones, Jones calls their performance phenomenal. The Stingers are just one team out of 24 currently practicing for the Hawaii Military Youth Athletic Association Soccer Season games, scheduled from July 12 through Aug. 30, 2014.
The more than 200 registered 2014 HMYAA soccer players will be the first in all Marine Corps Base Hawaii youth sports to play games at Pop Warner Field since its renovation in March.
The HMYAA saw more than 1,200 youth sports enrollments last year at MCB Hawaii, which includes individual children participating in multiple sports.
“As athletes, (children) benefit by learning in their early years how to be a team player, interact with others, sportsmanship (and have fun),” said Clark Abbey, the Youth Sports coordinator aboard MCB Hawaii. “Building an athletic foundation as a child (may) one day continue in their adult life.
For a parent, they are providing an opportunity to allow their children to grow as an athlete with the understanding that children need a way to exert themselves physically to burn calories and release stress that (may be) caused by school and home life.”
The various base teams will compete against Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam teams throughout the season, with games played Saturdays aboard both installations.
“It takes a lot of work and I like (soccer) because I like to run,” said Stingers player Robert Harrison. “Every season I meet new people and make friends.”
Harrison, 11, is currently involved in his third soccer season, and plans to work on his dribbling and shooting this time around.
All teams in the Termite, Peewee and Midget Divisions will compete in the semifinals from Aug. 25 through 30. The highest-scoring teams from MCB Hawaii and JBPHH will play the final championship game.
A variety of youth sports are offered throughout the year. Children are placed into separate age divisions, which vary in availability and name depending on the sport. Teams generally practice bi-weekly and play Saturday games.
Registration for the HMYAA Flag Football, Cheerleading and Volleyball seasons will run from July 1 through 23, or until all available spaces are taken.
All three sports are scheduled from Oct. 4 through Nov. 22, with practice starting Sept. 2. Parents or guardians can register their children in person July 22 from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Semper Fit Satellite Gym at the Manana Housing Complex in Aiea, Hawaii or at the Semper Fit Center aboard MCB Hawaii.
There will also be assessments for flag football and volleyball participants before the season begins, which assesses each child’s attentiveness and ability to listen. The rating will be factored in when the children are divided into their teams, as well as their age and gender. The flag football assessments are scheduled Aug. 5, 6 and 7 from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Provost Marshal’s Office field. The volleyball assessments are scheduled Aug. 13 and 14 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
The Youth Sports program is also looking for coaches for flag football, cheerleading and volleyball. Interested personnel must clear an installation background check and complete a National Youth Sports Coaches Association online certification.
“I love kids,” said Jones, who has been coaching for nine years. “I love (teaching) them to work as a team.”
Jones, a 3rd Marine Regiment Marine, is coaching two teams this season, and has also coached basketball and supported football coaches.
Joe Tvrdy, the current coach for Midget K-Bay Team 1, Big Foot, has been coaching for more than 30 years. The retired soldier became involved in coaching while his own children began playing soccer. He enjoys being able to teach the children, and watch as returning players grow and develop over the years.
“(Participating in youth sports is) good for them to develop leadership and soccer skills,” Tvrdy said. “A lot of them use this league to move on (to high school and other teams).”
Big Foot player Sean Callahan, 14, hopes to make the varsity soccer team when he returns to school in the fall. Callahan, who has been playing soccer since he was 5 years old, plans to spend this season working on his control of the ball.
“(Soccer) is such an exciting game,” he said. “You never know what’s going to happen. I can’t wait to see how the team does.”
For more information, call the Youth Sports Office at 254-7473. Initial applications and more information are available at www.mccshawaii.com/youthsports.shtml.