On Wednesdays during the summer, soccer players ranging from 15 years old to 50 years old take to the Cottage Grove High School soccer field for a summer league season. The season, that starts in June and runs through August, is not about competition as much as it is about just having a good time.
“We’re out there for fun and exercise,” said program coordinator Shelly Heintz who is also a player herself. “At the beginning of each season I give everybody the speech, ‘Hey, we’re here for fun and we have to go to work tomorrow.’”
The league, in its sixth year, is run by South Valley Athletics and is the only adult sports league that it facilitates. Each year they have between four and six teams and the makeup of the teams are all a little different. There is one team that features just high school students who have to not play during OSAA’s moratorium week, which is a dead week in high school sports that does not allow any contact between coaches and players. Other teams consist of soccer players varying in skill and passion.
“We definitely have a lot of people that wouldn’t otherwise play. Especially people who are like, 'Oh I played in high school 20 years ago; sure I’ll come play,'” said Heintz. “It’s nice to have a local option.”
Those who play see this local option as a way to see their friends on a weekly basis.
“I get to see a lot of people that even though there are different teams we have friends on all the different teams. So it’s kind of fun to see each other and talk and just have fun,” said Craig DeGarlais who has organized a team each year since the league started. “But it’s just for fun. Whether we win or lose, when the other team scores a goal you give them a high-five and say, ‘nice shot.’”
After excessive amounts of heat delayed last week’s games, the season will be coming to an end on Wednesday August 16th.