by Will Lomen
A new soccer season is about to get underway; and when it does, there’s no doubt that the McGilvra Youth Soccer Club will again be fielding some pretty formidable contenders. Last year, two McGilvra teams were All-City Champs: the McGilvra Chargers (shown above) won the Girls Under 12 title and the McGilvra Sparklers (shown below) won the Girls Under 11 title.
The Club, whose colors have always been Red and Black, was originally formed in 1973. Back then, all players played eleven-a-side on a regulation field and the McGilvra Club provided the opportunity for approximately three hundred kids to play soccer in the Seattle Youth Soccer Association. Over the years the club has experienced steady growth; and in 2010, 37 years later, the club stands at more than five hundred players coached by over fifty volunteer coaches. McGilvra Soccer now includes not only boy and girl teams for each year between Under-10 and Under-19, but also boy and girl teams from Under-6 to Under-9 that play using modified rules. These modifications for the younger players include reduced rosters, shorter fields, fewer on-field players, shorter games and a smaller ball.
One consistent characteristic of the Club over the years has been the outstanding volunteers who have kept the McGilvra Soccer organization (mcgilvrasoccer.org) running efficiently. In some years a few individuals have done most of the work, but in other years a new generation of enthusiastic parents has come on board to fill the many essential officer, coordinator and coaching positions.
One of these great volunteers is Kendall Culwell, who has been the Club’s head registrar for the past five years. She will be stepping aside and moving to California as soon as this season’s registration is completed (she swears that the reason for her move has nothing to do with intensity of the job). She admits that the May to August registration period can be hectic, but it’s also very satisfying to see the new teams come together with names like Go Girls, Sparklers, Lasers, Stampede, Green Hornets, Superfriends, Speedy Cats and Hotshots. It is a testament to Culwell's efficiency and dedication that during her five years she has twice been designated the Seattle Youth Soccer Association volunteer of the month. The SYSA (sysa.org) has sixteen clubs and over thirteen thousand soccer players under its umbrella.
Although one of the smallest clubs in the SYSA, the McGilvra Red and Black is competitive with any of the larger clubs and has many City Championships to show for it. Last year, in weather not fit for a polar bear, four of the Club’s teams fought through the marathon rounds of the City Tournament and made it to the finals. On that cold and rainy of December 19th at the Nathan Hale and Summit field complexes, the Sparklers coached by Bruce Clarkson and the Chargers coached by Mike Riley won their respective City Championships in heart-stopping performances. The Go Girls (Under 13) coached by Scott MacIntire and the Nighthawks (boys Under 11) coached by Joe Nickerson finished as the gutsy runner-ups in their classifications.
The new season begins in September; and based on the enthusiasm of the volunteers, the anticipation of the kids, and the winning tradition of the Club, we can look forward to another outstanding year for McGilvra soccer.