Youth soccer

Maura Roberts and Macey Jones scrimmage on Monday during practice at the Fort Payne soccer complex.

The Fort Payne Futbol Club (FPFC) is gearing up for another exciting fall of youth soccer.

The FPFC is entering their sixth year and are preparing for their biggest time of the year, which is the youth soccer program. Games will begin on September 21.

This will be the first season the youth soccer program will be without Phil Elton, who built the program from 300 kids to now almost 700 strong.

FPFC board member Michael Farmer said the transition has gone well, though.

“It’s actually gone a lot better than I thought it would,” Farmer said. “He did so much to help build up the youth soccer program and we want to help it continue to grow. It’s been a great start so far.”

They will have 55 teams this fall and more than 600 players from ages four to 17, who will play games on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday each week. Games will be at 5, 6 and 7 p.m. on each of those nights.

While the youth soccer program has grown, so has the success of the Fort Payne High School soccer program. The Fort Payne boy’s team is coming off a state championship last season and the girl’s team made it all the way to the quarterfinals of the playoffs.

Farmer said there’s a direct correlation between both programs successes and they want that to continue, but they couldn’t do it without their support staff.

“We are very grateful to the parents and volunteers that help coach and volunteer their time so we don’t have to turn kids away,” Farmer said. “There’s a lot of talent in Fort Payne and we use this as a feeder program to the high school, program. We want them to stay in all the way through high school and we can’t do that without help.”

The program has also received help from local businesses through sponsorships of teams that help buy uniforms.

“We have 55 teams and all but six of those teams have been sponsored by a local business so we are very grateful for that,” Farmer said.

Farmer also said the Wills Valley Recreation Center was a big help. The rec center allows them the use of their facilities and helps with the upkeep of the playing fields.

“We want to give a huge thanks to the whole rec department, especially Chris Saint and Ryan Johnson,” Farmer said. “They do so much to help us.”

The board members for the FPFC are Farmer, Eddie Bolton, JC Corley, James Payton, Karen Bolton, Julie Little, Tom Shanklin, Victoria Leputa and Shane Wallace.

Fans can watch the games at the Wills Valley Recreation Center and soccer complex. Admission is $1 at the gate.

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