By Lorraine DiSano
When soccer season isn’t in action, the Byram Hills World Cup Soccer program welcomes all students to come out and play soccer. World Cup Soccer was started 16 years ago by the boys’ and girls’ varsity soccer coaches, Mr. Allen and Mr. Horn. At the time, the two coaches bought construction fencing to border the field and simulate “cage” soccer. The games were very intense and created an enthusiastic environment for the players. The program was initially for boys only. It wasn’t until 2010 that the girls started their own Cage league. The girls’ side was started by Mr. Horn. Ever since then, there have been more and more girls joining in on the fun! The program was originally called “Cage.” Every 4 years, however, there is the World Cup, so for that year it is not called “Cage,” but rather “World Cup” – this year the team names are named after the teams who are competing in the World Cup.
8th through 12th-grade girls and boys participate in this after-school program that is meant to introduce the incoming freshmen to a new level of play. Teams are drafted by the rising seniors as a reward for their commitment to the team. After the draft, a schedule is made for players – the girls play every Tuesday and Thursday. This goes on for about three weeks.
No fear, there is a prize for the winning team. For girls, they used to win these big bullhorns, symbolizing Mr. Horn who started the program. Unfortunately, the bull horns got lost so that is no longer the prize. For boys, the prize is a trophy, which stays at the house of a member of the winning team for a week, just like the Stanley Cup.
Everyone who participates enjoys this program. Kristin Eickelbeck, a freshman, said, “I remember doing this program last year. It was one of my best decisions because when I came back in fall to try out, I wasn’t nervous, and I knew many of the girls. It is such a fun experience, and I can’t wait to do it each year.”
World Cup Soccer is a fun and competitive way to get back into soccer before the season or to simply try out the sport to see if you like it!