Soccer season kicks off at ice cream social

Sep 2, 2019

While almost everyone in Dartmouth celebrated Labor Day with one last lazy summer weekend, children and families celebrated the start of the soccer season with an ice cream social at the Dartmouth Youth Soccer Association fields.

Parents watched as their young children in DYSA’s under 6 and under 8 divisions ran around with their friends in the sunshine on Monday in anticipation of the soccer season to come.

Kids met their coaches, ate ice cream sandwiches and popsicles, and kicked balls around in neon T-shirts color-coded by age.

DYSA president Mike Fernandes explained that the social was a way for the younger kids to meet their coaches, since they only meet up on game days.

“It’s just a way for them to get to meet the coaches in a low-stress environment,” he said. “Because at U6 and U8 there’s no practices, they basically show up on Saturdays. The coach is there, they go through certain activities, and then they have a little scrimmage.”

Fernandes was meeting with other divisions’ coaches to discuss changes in the upcoming season, including a new academy style curriculum, which is standardized across all of the coaches for each age.

“As soon as the fields open up there’ll be a standard practice for all those kids ⁠— doesn’t matter what team you’re on,” he noted. “It’s a standard curriculum so the quality of soccer is the same with all the coaches.”

Fernandes was also happy with the weather, which he said was “Perfect.” 

“It’s a beautiful day,” agreed Dartmouth resident Melissa Amaral, whose kids have been in DYSA’s programs for years.

“It’s just nice because it’s a small town community,” she added. “[The kids] all go to school together, so they all know each other.”

Lisa DaCosta of Dartmouth said that she’s been a DYSA soccer mom since 1999. “It’s an awesome program. They learn a lot, it’s very structured.”

DaCosta’s 17-year-old son is now on the soccer team at Dartmouth High, and five-year-old Averie is starting her first season of soccer this year.

“She’s excited,” she said of her daughter. “She couldn’t wait to start. It’s gonna be great.”

The sentiment was echoed among parents, kids, and coaches, as well as Fernandes himself.

“We’re looking forward to the season,” he said with a smile. “It’s gonna be another great year.”