High Country Soccer Association, Boone’s youth soccer club, is set to begin its spring season bringing soccer to hundreds of children, and adults, as well as bringing the soccer community to local businesses and events.
The spring officially kicks off when the club’s travel teams start practice February 20. High Country Soccer Association offers a variety of soccer programs for kids and adults of all ages and skill levels to play year-around. This spring the club will offer programs for over 500 kids and over 200 adults according to Director of Coaching Kiki Wallace.
Director of Coaching Kiki Wallace leads an academy practice.
There are three youth programs offered based on age and skill level.
Kids begin in the academy program, which is divided into three age-groups; level one is for kids between 4 and 6 years old, level two is for kids between 6 and 8 years old, and level three is for kids between 8 and 10 years old. Players are split into smaller teams in which they participate in practices and games amongst their smaller team.
They then have the option of whether they want to play rec soccer, offered for kids between 9 and 14, or travel soccer, the club’s highest level of soccer offered to kids between 10 and 18. Travel soccer requires the player to make the team through a tryout process that takes place each May.
High Country Soccer Association also provides an adult league for those adults who enjoy playing soccer. There are three leagues split by competitiveness.
“Our adult league is about getting those who still enjoy playing the game an opportunity to do so,” Wallace said. “We wanted to build a soccer community in Boone and our adult league has helped us create that.”
The Appalachian Mountain Brewery Premier League is split into three divisions, each sponsored by local restaurants. They are the Los Arcoiris Gold Division, TApp Room Silver Division, and Wild Craft Bronze Division. Winning teams and finalists receive coupons to their division’s sponsor.
High Country Soccer Association is sponsored by many local restaurants and businesses. On top of the adult league sponsorships, they offer spots on practice jerseys, like AppOrtho plastered on the front of travel practice shirts and jerseys, an advertising board alongside the fields, as well as other promotional offerings to businesses to sponsor the club. The club advertises the businesses to the many players and their families in the club, as well as to those traveling from other clubs for games or one of High Country Soccer Association’s two annual tournaments.
Last year’s King of the Mountain tournament, held in May, brought 66 youth soccer teams from North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, West Virginia and Virginia with players and their families to Boone. He says they advertise their sponsors to all the teams as well as other businesses with team activities suggested to coaches and managers.
“Our sponsors are huge contributors to our club and allow us to do things we want to, like the adult league, that we couldn't do without them,” Technical Director of Coaching and Sponsorships Jody Young said. “We try to establish that relationship where they see how we are helping them while they are helping us.”
Felicia Joyce, the mother of five children all involved in High Country Soccer Association, says she loved the club from the first day her oldest child got started.
“Franklin started in the club when he decided to do soccer, and they really curated his love for the sport,” Joyce said. “Now he has expressed an urge to coach after playing and the club has helped provide him coaching opportunities with younger kids to give him experience there which shows how much they care about their players.”
“We try to develop our players as people,” Wallace added when Franklin Joyce was brought up.