Over 70 youth took part in the Grant County Soccer Association’s 2020 fall season after the spring season had been canceled. “We ran our program as close to normal as we could,” says organizer Krista Atyeo-Gortmaker. “Our biggest issue was the quarantining throughout the season, which affected numbers, teams, coaches, and players.”
According to Atyeo-Gortmaker, spring soccer usually fields a higher number of participants than the fall season. “Fall is tough for all families involved in agriculture because of harvest. Our numbers typically are over 120 kids in the spring and 75 to 100 in the fall.”
For the 2020 fall season, 74 players signed up along with ten coaches. Volunteer coaches included: Caroline Priebe, Tim Koch, Eric Pulling, Cydney Hunt, Karissa Karels, Rachel Kiley, and Krista Atyeo-Gortmaker. Gary Mohs and Allen Dahle, nicknamed the Grandpa coaches, also helped out in a pinch.
“The weather was wonderful,” Atyeo-Gortmaker remarked. “So many parents and grandparents brought their lawn chairs and blankets out to the soccer complex to watch a great group of kids.”
Atyeo-Gortmaker says the spring program is scheduled to go ahead as planned. “We are governed by the South Dakota Soccer Association and our National Soccer Association. So, we abide by their rules or guidance.”
The Grant County Soccer Association has been an independent program for the past 29 years. Atyeo-Gortmaker says, “We plan to continue and hope to keep building our program. Someday, we could field a high school team and offer play with the South Dakota High School Activities Association as there are some SDHSAA programs in our area of South Dakota already.