ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — Parents filled the sidelines behind Edgewood High School to watch a number of youth soccer games on Tuesday night.
The Ashtabula Soccer Association holds games on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during the summer. Play is broken down into five divisions — 5-6 years olds are paired together, as are 7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14.
“It’s a learning league. It’s non-competitive,” ASA President Chris Batanian said.
The ASA league kicked off in 2005 and has been active ever since. Batanian said it usually has close to 400 kids playing and they come from all over Ashtabula County.
Mike Grim, who coached the grey team on Tuesday night, has been involved with the ASA for nearly nine years.
He started out when his daughter was 6 years old and now coaches his son, who is 12.
“It’s kind of a family out here and it’s good,” Grim said.
The goal of the league is to teach the younger, aspiring soccer plays some of the ins and outs of the game. It also is meant to be played in a fun, laid-back environment.
“It’s just to teach the kids something,” Grim said. “I have kids in high school coming back and saying ‘I’ve learned so much’ and ‘everything you taught me is now at the high school level,’ so it makes you feel good.”
This year’s schedule began in June and it will wrap up with some festivities in late July.
“Every team gets a pizza party,” Batanian said. “We provide the pizza and drinks for the kids. We used to do a big huge picnic, but people were not coming and then it got almost too big, so then we started doing, we provide pizza and stuff for each team. So we have the pizza delivered and they can have their own personal party.”