Upward Soccer returns to Georgetown churches

  • Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Registration is now open for the 2012 season of Upward Soccer sponsored by First Baptist and Screven Baptist churches in Georgetown.

The league is open to boys and girls who will be four years old by Sept. 1 of this year through rising sixth-graders.

"Last year, we had over 150 children from across the county involved in our Upward Soccer leagues," said Jay Holmes, minister of music and member of the Upward Steering Committee at First Baptist.

"This season, we would love to have at least 200 boys and girls playing soccer."

Upward Unlimited is a non-profit sports ministry that began in 1986 out of First Baptist Church in Spartanburg.

It has now spread to more than 1,000 churches around the world, with hundreds of thousands of boys and girls playing sports in a positive environment under the guidance of thousands more Christian youth and adult volunteers.

"We at First Baptist feel extremely fortunate to be able to offer this quality sports program," said Holmes. "It gives us the opportunity to have meaningful interaction with hundreds of families in our community."

Upward promotes character and self-esteem in every child by providing equal playing time for every player, a one-hour practice (on the same day and time each week) and game each week of the season, an objective, standard evaluation process to provide equal opportunity for improvement and balanced teams (as much as possible), and separate teams for boys and girls except for the kindergarten instructional league.

Games will be played on Saturday mornings, beginning Sept. 8-Oct. 27; practices begin the week of Aug. 20 when school starts.

Evaluations for all soccer players will be held at First Baptist on July 28 and Aug. 4 from 9 a.m. until noon.

There will also be evaluation sessions Aug. 5-7.

All participants must attend one of these to help ensure evenly-matched teams.

Children will be fitted for uniforms and there will be an informational meeting for parents.

Registration ends Aug. 7.

The cost to play Upward Soccer is $45 per player; there is also a $10 discount per additional child for each immediate family.

Each player receives a reversible jersey, soccer socks, a car magnet, an awards poster for individual awards given after each practice and game, end-of-the-season award, and DVD.

"The children really get a lot for their money," explained Holmes. "Our church does not make any money off of registration fees; we only charge what it costs us to provide the program through Upward Unlimited. In fact, First Baptist invests quite a bit of its financial resources into providing Upward ministries for our community. However, we do feel like it is well worth it for these precious children and their families."

Most importantly, the children have a devotional at each practice led by their coaches, plus a minister from First Baptist or Screven Baptist will share testimonies at the halftime of each game for the participants and spectators. Players will have the opportunity to earn awards for studying a Scripture verse each week, as well.

"Our main goal is to use soccer as tool for sharing Christ with these children and their families," Holmes emphasized. "The games are fun and exciting, but we really want those participating to learn about what Jesus has done for them. That makes 'Every Child a Winner!' which is the motto of Upward Unlimited."

Parents can register their children at the First Baptist office, located at 219 Cleland St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday

For more information, call 546-5187 or visit www.fbcgeorgetown.com, where you may also register and make payments online.

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