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In the Del Mar and Carmel Valley San Diego communities, soccer has become so popular. So much so that in 2004, Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks decided to start a winter & spring league for the recreation player (ages 5 through 12). Shortly thereafter, we came up with what is now the Junior World Cup. In the first season we had 49 children sign up, and in the second year we doubled the membership. Now we are selling out the 3 session league on Sundays! We had 240 children participate in last year’s Junior World Cup. It is just amazing how the league has progressed. The DMCV Recreation league had 160 teams (about 2,100 players) participating in 2011.
The atmosphere on Sundays, is perfect for young players and their parents that come out and participate. The league focuses on the World Cup and its history. The young players who join the league, get an opportunity to play like the great players of today, and like those unforgettable few who will live forever in soccer’s rich history. We encourage the children to decorate their tees with national flags and emblems. We also encourage them to draw their favorite number on the tee and print their name or the name of their favorite player. Many parents have stated that the artsy tee shirts become the favorite clothing item of many of the players. And this is evident as many are seen wearing them at school and family outings.
Recently we have added a sound system to the mix. This addition has had a huge impact on the overall atmosphere of the game as we listen to folk music from South Africa, Germany, or Brazil. The parents attending enjoy a fun-filled hour non-stop fun as we listen to music and are treated to fun games of 4 vs. 4 with goal keepers (we use excellent size goals). The fields are lined and are covered with flags from all of countries of the world.
In addition, the children who attend are treated to fun facts and have the opportunity to learn about soccer’s rich history. They learn about faraway places through soccer. It is truly my favorite league with its unforgettable imagery and pageantry. The children are great sports and really enjoy the upbeat environment.
Many of the young players have gone on and are now playing high level soccer. Every once in a while when we talk about players we will refer to them by the country that they played for. It seems to stick and is a great way in identifying and remembering the players.
We are currently accepting registrations for the 2012 Junior World Cup. To register please click HERE. The league is set to kick off on Sunday, March 4th.
Tommy Maurer has been interested in coaching and developing soccer players since 1999, when he moved back to San Diego after living in San Francisco for 15 years. His passion for coaching and mentoring young athletes was sparked after kicking the ball around with a family in Coronado. The parents suggested he become a coach and that is exactly what he did!
The Sharks invited Tommy to coach two U-8 teams for the 1999 fall season and he hasn’t stopped being a part of the organization ever since. He currently is the Director of Sharks Recreation Soccer, which has allowed him to present the game of soccer to a great community and has given him the opportunity to coach and develop the skill of soccer players of all levels.