JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — Thanks to its successful first year, the Cool Kicks girls soccer team is expanding to two squads for the fall of 2016.
Tryouts for the 12-and-under team and the 13-and-under squad are 6 p.m. July 22 at “The Greens” soccer fields on Avenue K in Marble Falls. The teams are for players born in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Athletes should bring water, cleats and shin guards.
If a player makes one of the teams, the cost to play is $150.
“It looks like we have enough interest for two,” head coach Ellen Harris said. “We’re becoming more ambitious. Coaches, after watching tryouts, will extend invites (to join the teams).”
The Cool Kicks won the Western District last fall as a new team. That success has brought more athletes wanting to play on the 14-member team. Not wanting to turn away players, Harris said she and assistant coach Ernesto Rivera decided to add the second squad.
But both teams will operate the same way: The players will have practices together and will run the same schemes.
Having two squads also means more minutes for players on both teams.
The team started about a year ago when Harris found out some girls wanted to play in 3-on-3 tournaments. Then, when Granite Country Youth Soccer Association officials found out, they asked Harris if she’d be interested in coaching an 11-and-under squad.
Last fall, the Cool Kicks won the Western District as a recreational team playing in the 11-and-under age division, posting a 16-2-3 record.
That championship forced the squad full of fifth-graders to play in an age group of seventh-graders, according to the rules of U.S. Soccer, the governing body of the sport. Even then the Cool Kicks had a 6-7-1 record.
“Every team we played in the spring was stronger and faster,” Harris said.
One important lesson the team learned, she said, was they had to keep playing soccer, no matter what was happening on the field.
“They improved greatly and began to play team soccer,” she said. “It worked out better than I hoped.”
Harris said she believes soccer teams like hers are a great benefit to many. Players develop and improve skills, which can ultimately help them land a college scholarship. For the community, it helps build pride. It also helps the Marble Falls High School girls soccer program because more experienced athletes will take the field.
“We could really develop soccer in Marble Falls,” she said. “If we can get two teams going and teach them the same way, it really helps. You begin to build a program.”