CLOVER — Clover has long been a hotbed for youth soccer, and staff members with Clover Parks and Rec are chomping at the bit to open the fall in a new soccer complex.
The level of soccer participation in the Clover community is among the most active in the Upstate, with hundreds signing up to play every year.
The complex, which includes four fields, concession area, restrooms and paved parking, is the first phase of the much-anticipated construction of the 50-acre New Centre Park off Memorial Drive.
Three of the fields are lighted to accommodate night games.
Clover Parks and Recreation Director Greg Holmes and Program Director Donald Johnson said they’re elated the complex will facilitate youth soccer in the coming season.
“It’s a great accomplishment that the new facilities will be in use this fall,” said Holmes. “The complex is a great facility.”
Holmes said he is excited about the addition to the Rec Department and has the numbers to substantiate the need. “We have in the neighborhood of 325 youth soccer participants per season, and 650 year-round,” Holmes said.
Johnson, who shares Holmes’ sentiments, is equally excited.
“There’s a growing demand for youth soccer in the Clover community,” Johnson said. “Participation continues on the upswing.”
While much emphasis has been placed on youth soccer, Johnson said Clover Rec reaches a wider age range. “Our youth soccer program reaches ages three to 15,” he said. Most rec departments include ages 3 to 12.”
Johnson said the Clover soccer program includes competition with the other soccer communities in York County — Fort Mill, Tega Cay, Lake Wylie and Steele Creek.
“Youth soccer participation and attendance at the games have been on the rise,” Johnson said.
Another indication of the popularity of youth soccer in the Clover community is this week’s Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp, which will end Friday at Clover Community Park.
Each day includes individual foot skills, technical drills, tactical practices, small-sided games, coached scrimmages and a daily World Cup Tournament.
With much emphasis given to the fundamentals of the game, the Challenger coaching staff also teaches self-discipline, sportsmanship and respect for others and for the game.
Holmes noted that phase one of the park is only the beginning.
Plans for future phases of the park include a “splash pad,” amphitheater, walking trails, picnic shelters, outdoor basketball, sand volleyball and tennis courts, a disc golf course and a “miracle field,” which is a special type of baseball field for people with disabilities.
For more information about youth soccer, call 222-9493.