The Red Hook Soccer Club is celebrating 21 years of teaching local kids the basics of soccer and teamwork — and this year they’re stronger than ever.
Five hundred kids are enrolled in the two branches of the club; intramural teams are coed and include the youngest players on under-5 (U5) teams all the way up to U13. The travel teams go from U9 to U16 and require tryouts.
According to club president Ben Hoen, the two primary goals of the club are “to have children learn to love the game of soccer and to continually develop as players.” He says these goals come before winning, though that’s important, too.
“In fact,” he added, “if we succeed at the first two, winning comes naturally.”
Frank Bauer said when his son, Frankie, started last year, all he did was walk the lines of the field, but by the fall he was passing to his teammates. This year Frankie, 6, plays for U7 “Dave’s Tree Service” team. “That’s all that matters, that they have fun and participate,” his dad added.
David Woulfin, one of the coaches for the Dave’s Tree Service team and a science teacher in Rhinebeck schools, agreed, “I just think it’s fun to watch these kids learn teamwork and just excited playing together in a sport. For a lot of them, it’s the first team they’ve been on,” he said.
Evie Weiler, who is 6, plays on his team in her second year with the club. “What I love most about it is having fun. I like playing defense to protect the ball from getting in the goal,” she said.
Her teammate Elliette Shavelle, also 6, said this is her third season playing. “I like that you can only use your feet,” she said. “You can kick it and get it away from people with your feet—everything with your feet.”
“The biggest thing with us is, we’re teaching the rules of the game…and sportsmanship. We’re teaching them how to play together as a team and respect the other team, the referees and the league itself. It’s a lot of fun,” Assistant Coach Frank Stabile of the U10 Hooktrail team told the Observer.
Madyson Simmons, age 9 and a member of the Hooktrail team, says this is her fifth season playing soccer. “I love offense. I love running with the ball and making goals,” she said.
The club was established in 1993 and in 2000 began leasing the Greig Farm fields they still use on Rockefeller Lane. The 12 fields include two at Mill Road Elementary School and host all the intramural games on Saturdays (this fall, through Nov. 8), as well as about half of the travel games, which are played on Sundays.
The season runs about nine weeks in the fall and nine weeks in the summer and the travel teams continue their practice in winter at Mac Fitness in Kingston. Registration continues as long as space allows, and 28 local businesses sponsor the intramural teams, which helps cover the cost of jerseys and balls.
Hoen noted, “The club is 100 percent volunteer so that all the funds received can be put back into the service of our goals as a club and to keep our registration fees low. We have almost 100 parent volunteers who mainly serve as coaches, board members, or serve in other capacities.”
For more information, visit www.redhooksoccer.com.