A new set of GOALS: Parks Department to begin running youth soccer program in Ardmore

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
Representatives from Parks and Recreation and members of the GOALS board of directors announced the city will begin running the youth soccer program this spring. From left to right: Tay Harvey, Leeann Swindall, Kenny Shade,Anthony Abeyta, Teresa Ervin, Tes Stewart.

Beginning this spring, the Ardmore Parks and Recreation Department will be running GOALS, a youth soccer league for area children ages three to 18. But while some new folks may be in charge of operations, for the players and parents, the transition will be seamless.

Since its inception in the late 90s, GOALS has been run entirely by volunteers. However its board of directors recently decided the time had come to bring in some professionals and voted unanimously to transition the program to Ardmore Parks and Recreation.

GOALS Soccer Club Soccer Club Registrar Tay Harvey said the key factor in the decision was the amount of growth the club has experienced over the years. Some seasons having as many as 600 players.

"Administering a program and league the size of GOALS solely with volunteers who have other full-time jobs has always been a challenge," Harvey said. "We weren’t able to be as responsive or as present as other sports organizations in our community who had employees and their own facilities. We want soccer families to have the best experience possible, and transitioning the program to Parks and Recreation is absolutely going to accomplish that."

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To help with that transition, several former GOALS board members will remain involved in the league through the upcoming season. 

The parks department also already has experience working with the program.

"Tes (Stewart, Recreation Supervisor) is going to be running the program and utilizing all of their experience and assistance," said Ardmore Parks and Recreation Director Teresa Ervin. "She shadowed all of last season and we also ran the concession stand. The fields and maintenance have always been ours, so that's going to stay the same. In fact we have some plans we'd like to implement and hope to get some of the practice fields established a bit better."

Ervin said her team and the GOALS board had several meetings prior to the decision, and everyone feels the parks department can bring more opportunities to the program.

"Not only do we want to run it as seamlessly as they did, but we would also like to add some new things like tournaments, possibly some family nights, and clinics," she said. 

Sign up for the spring session will begin in the coming months and parents of children ages three to 18 can sign their kids up online www.ardmorecity.org. A link will also be provided at www.ardmoresoccer.com The cost of the program will remain the same as in previous seasons.

"We want to make this transition as smooth as possible and easy for our citizens to get registered and have a good time," Ervin said. "We're thrilled for the opportunity, and we appreciate GOALS' faith in us to continue their program. They've given us a great start, and we just hope we can continue to make it even better."