Jags soccer program aspires new philosophy

Posted 7/27/09

A new youth soccer program looks to bring a new philosophy to the sport, starting in Douglas County. The Douglas County Jaguars youth soccer program …

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Jags soccer program aspires new philosophy


A new youth soccer program looks to bring a new philosophy to the sport, starting in Douglas County.

The Douglas County Jaguars youth soccer program had its inaugural season last spring with approximately 90 kids participating on roughly 15 teams. All games were played at Academy Charter school next to Red Hawk Golf Course in Castle Rock.

This fall, however, David Stephen, one of the organization’s founders and coaches, expects the program to sign up between 150-200 kids in their follow up season this fall. He said one of the biggest draws to the Jaguars was the program’s philosophy toward sports competition for youth athletes.

“Everything seems so super organized and competitive with other programs,” Stephen said. “We’re looking to bring the fun back into the play.”

Having spoken to some of the older parents of players and keeping with what Stephen described as a British philosophy towards youth sports, the Jaguars look to keep its team and competition more relaxed, but not without teaching soccer skills to its kids. Outside of scheduled games, the Jaguars organization plays host to free skills clinics.

“We don’t want them to just come out, play and are taught nothing,” Stephen said. “We want you to come, play, have fun and we’ll teach you about the game.”

One aspect that makes the Jaguars unique is the game schedule. Stephen, a Scottish native who began coaching soccer there until coming to the U.S. in 2000, said the United Kingdom and European style of youth sports is, one gets of out school and heads off to play. But that’s it. There are no games on the weekends.

“We believe weekends should be for families,” Stephen said. “We’re trying to give the soccer moms a bit of a break.”

Presently, the Jaguars organization is open to players in kindergarten to third grade. Regardless of age, that is how players are classified. Stephen said they will be adding one grade level per season as the program continues to grow. A lot of families with older youth players have approached the Jaguars about joining because of the program’s philosophy, he said.

“I’ve seen so many super talented kids in their sport get super burned out, because parents and coaches have been screaming at them since the age of four,” Stephen said. “We’re trying to create a less stressful environment. We want to nurture kids, let them have fun and teach them, until they get to an age when they can deal with coaches screaming at them better. Then they can go to more competitive programs.”

For now, the Jaguars is solely open to players in the Douglas County area. But like every new youth sports organization, growth is part of the plan. Stephen said the program hopes to expand its model state-wide after five years. After another five, they aspire to have the model on a national level.

Stephen said for the fall season, the Jaguars aspire to work with the physical education programs at local schools to create team at the elementary school level.

To learn more about the Douglas County Jaguars, visit the organization’s Web site at www.dcjaguars.com.


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