The sound of children playing once again could be heard at the Crescenta Valley High School field as post fire sports practice begins.
By Mary O’Keefe
On Tuesday the Crescenta Valley Soccer Club took to the field and hit the ground running, literally, as they made up for time lost due to the unhealthy air quality in the wake of the Station fire.
Teams of boys and girls from under 9 years old to under 19 worked on every position from goalie to forward to defender.
“We have a total of 17 teams. The U12 [under 12] team is here practicing on their night off,” said Neal Bird, president of the CV Soccer Club.
The field was divided into specific areas where younger players worked on general soccer skills and others worked in specific areas like goalkeeper training. Bird said missing practice due to the air quality may have slowed the teams down and that was why they were working so hard now to catch up and get ready for their first games on Saturday and Sunday.
“And we love playing on this field,” he added.
Bird and other club members worked in support of Crescenta Valley Committed to Athletic Needs [CV CAN], the non-profit organization that raised $1.4 million for a new track and field at the school. He said the club not only benefited from the new field but feels a responsibility to maintain it.
Club founder and director Reggie Rivas is also the coach of the CVHS girls varsity soccer team. He began coaching at the school in 1999 and started the club in 2001. “I started with 14 girls. We now have 285 kids in the program,” Rivas said.
He added his goal was to start a soccer club to challenge athletes to do better.
The club’s mission statement reads, “We are committed to the promotion of development of youth in our community through their participation in soccer. We are committed to providing all our members with the opportunity to develop athletically and personally in a positive, supportive, and safe environment. The Crescenta Valley Soccer Club encourages and promotes ethical and moral behavior, good sportsmanship, community involvement and good citizenship.”
Rivas added that many team members have been accepted under soccer scholarships at a variety of colleges and universities.
“This program encourages a competitive spirit and promotes strong commitment,” he said.
That commitment and dedication was obvious as athletes from all ages ran up and down the field in preparation for this weekend’s games.
U12 team member Josh Moulin, who has played with the club for two years, was just glad to be back on the field.
“I really like this sport,” he said. “I am kind of scared about [the upcoming game] but I think we will be OK.”