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For Immediate Release May 29, 2009:
Soccer Merger to Provide Unprecedented Opportunities for Kids
SIOUX FALLS, SD - A historic union of the region’s two oldest and largest soccer organizations will bring unprecedented opportunities for kids.
The leadership of Dakota Gold Soccer Club and Sioux Falls Soccer Association has unanimously voted to merge their entities into one superior organization with the stated vision of being nationally recognized as a leader in both recreational and competitive youth soccer. Last year more than 7,000 kids participated in soccer through the two entities and their tournaments had more than a $4,000,000 economic impact on Sioux Falls.
Sioux Falls Soccer Association successfully launched its “soccer for all” mission in 1981 and has maintained that standard for nearly 3 decades. Six years later Dakota Gold Soccer Club was created with a focus of providing kids age-appropriate skills training led by professional coaches and the opportunity to compete regionally at the highest possible level.
President of the former Sioux Falls Soccer Association, Dr. Lyle Van Hemert, a local chiropractor, said the union was made possible by a united focus on what is best for the kids. “In every one of the countless meetings with coaches, players and parents over the past year someone has told a story of how unintended barriers between organizations have limited the ability of kids to move back and forth between teams to find the best match for their ability and desire to compete. Today those barriers are gone. Now it is truly about kids and the wonderful life skills they can learn from the game of soccer,” Dr. Van Hemert said.
President of the former Dakota Gold Soccer Club, Michele Weber, agreed with the power of the united focus on kids. “So many people were instrumental in the creation of this union. Coaches who previously competed against each other. Professional staff that risked programs they had passionately created. Countless people who have volunteered their efforts to make both of these organizations the premier entities they are. Everyone was able to put all those feelings aside to create the best soccer environment for the kids of this region,” Weber said.
Augustana College Head Women’s Soccer Coach Brandon Barkus has been named Interim Director of Coaching for the merged organization. Barkus also helped the two organizations facilitate the merger. “This has been a labor of soccer love for me. Everybody wins in this union. The recreational program will benefit from the presence of more professional coaching staff. The competitive program will benefit from a larger pool of players. And most of all, the kids will benefit by being able to find the right soccer fit for them in a unified organization without boundaries between levels. This movement was a groundswell from area coaches. Without their vision and passion this would not have happened,” Barkus says.