Our first games are this weekend! Here's what you need to know

Finally. It’s been nearly four months since our kids last put on their game jerseys and took the field. This weekend, we’ve got the first games of the Fall 2019 Pensacola Youth Soccer Season.

Many of us are returning players and families — and many more are playing for the first time.

Regardless whether this is your first game or your hundredth, you might have questions. Here are some answers as we get things going. And as always, please hit us up with any feedback or suggestions you might have for improving things as the season progresses.

Where are the games being played?

The short version is most of our games this season will be played at Roger Scott Athletic Complex. We've got three U-5/U-6 fields, a pair of U-8 fields, and single U-10 and U-12 fields.

Here's a map.

map-roger-scott.png

Under-15 games will be played at Hitzman Optimist Park.

As always be sure to check your schedules — there may be a few "away" games at other area facilities.

Which jersey should my player wear?

You’ll need to refer to the schedule for this, but here’s the gist:

  • For a “home” game, wear your white jersey.

  • For an “away” game, wear your green jersey.

What all should I bring to the game?

There definitely are some must-haves when it comes to watching our soccer games — especially given that we're mostly playing in baseball outfields.

First is some kind of chair. Because there are no bleachers in outfields. Stand if you want, but you'll thank us later.

Second is water. It's really hot out. And even if you're not the one running around, you still want to be hydrated. Bring water for your player, and extra water for yourself. You can never have too much water.

Third — and nearly as important as water — is some sort of sun protection. There's no shade on ballfields until late in the day. Wear sunscreen. Wear a hat. Bring an umbrella. Pop up a tent. Wear more sunscreen.

And bring a great attitude. We're all here to have fun!

What shouldn't I bring to the game?

Some folks like to try to bring their own referees to the games. They're usually pretty recognizable — pacing the sidelines and muttering a lot, and they finally bark out what should have happened before going back to muttering some more.

And while we appreciate the help, we've already got our own refs. They're recognizable by their yellow referee uniforms, whistles, and their responsibility for what's going on in the middle of the field.

Same goes for coaches. Our teams already have them. They can be found standing with the players, usually on the other side of the field from the parents. They're recognizable by their snazzy new orange coaches jerseys.

If you really want to be a ref, we can help make that happen. Same goes for coaching a team. But if you're on the parents' side of the field, the most important thing is to be a parent.

Is parking free at Roger Scott?

It is!

But it also can be pretty crowded, especially if it's a football weekend. That's a testament to the success of all of our area's youth sports programs, but it's also a reminder to slow down in the parking lot.

A little patience goes a long way when there are little kids running around.

What do I do if I still need a uniform?

The rule of thumb is this: if we have games going on at Roger Scott, you can get a uniform (or even parts of a uniform) at the concession stand, along the wall that faces the football field.

We’ll take cash or check on location. (If you absolutely must use a credit card, you can order here and pick up at the field.

Why aren’t we practicing at Roger Scott, too?

Figuring out where to put more than 900 excited soccer players is no small feat. We’ve worked with NEP Football and Bill Bond Baseball over the past several months to come up with a solution that works best for everyone. Because of the sheer number of players in our league (hey, soccer is the world’s most popular sport), the number of families that have more than one child playing, we opted to keep things as centralized as we could.

The current situation at Hitzman Park and the former YMCA property isn’t ideal, but that’s why the City of Pensacola has worked so hard to renovate it this winter and put in three new fields there. We thank everyone for their patience, and for helping to make the best of what we currently have this season.

Phil Nickinson