Soccer comes to Sabine in big way

By Daniel Jones, editor

Soccer, known affectionately as the beautiful game, is played by 250 million people in over 200 countries and dependencies across the planet, but hasn’t had a home in Sabine Parish until now, as this fall will bring about league play, an even a more advanced club-style team and potential sports academy.

After months of hard work, a new type of sporting opportunity is readying, and the organizers extend an invite to interested parties to the Five Dollar Futbol Clinic featuring the Northwestern State Demons soccer team at the Sabine Parish fairgrounds on July 7.  Currently, improvements are being made to the land behind the rodeo arena, but if not ready for play, the camp will be held in the outfield areas of nearby baseball fields. 

The league is expected to begin play on Labor Day and last through Thanksgiving. 

The two organizers of the league and club team have experience in various aspects of the sport.  Shawn Bozzell is a former soccer player who moved from Louisiana to Georgia and back and currently owns a local construction business.  Christopher Dodson attended Natchitoches Central High School before going on to play collegiate level soccer.  He is also a freelance writer who provides tactical breakdowns, business metrics, perspectives, and power rankings for, the Sports Illustrated affiliate covering only American soccer.

Dodson is quick to talk up the overwhelming popularity of the sport and the benefits of a local league.

“FIFA soccer video games have outsold Madden NFL games for most of the decade,” Dodson writes in an email. “The kids understand the game or they learn quickly. Once chasing after the ball I believe the kids will be hooked and Sabine Parish Sports and Recreation will be off and running as well.“

Children need opportunity, and Dodson states that there are more kids in the parish than sporting opportunities, both inside and out of school.  Soccer is also extremely inexpensive.  For example the Sabine league will only cost $60, plus the cost of cleats and shin guards.

He also points to the fact that health, nutrition, obesity rates, poor cardio, and heart stats lead to other problems.  The current American existence consists of too much junk food coupled with a lack of activity.  Soccer can provide the cure to those conditions.

Around 12 million adults are registered in various leagues throughout the country, with 28 million playing over all age groups.  Over 30 million fans have watched soccer on ESPN and Fox over the past month, which is roughly 10 percent of the country.  Attendance of Major League Soccer games stands at around 22,000, which beats the NBA and NHL in attendance.  The World Cup, which begins play next month, is the most popular sporting event on Earth, with billions of people worldwide tuning in for the final, which will provide a great introduction to the sport for the uninitiated.

Dodson also notes that areas that build these types of programs see drops in crime, increased graduation rates, fewer health issues in participants, and a rise in property values.

“We can build something positive for the community to be proud of and that will make the area better,” Dodson said in conclusion.

More information on the league will be released as it becomes available. 

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