By Doug Hare EBS SPORTS EDITOR
This December, the Big Sky Futbol Club, a new 501(c)(3) non-profit, received three grants totalling $8,000 from the Moonlight Basin, Spanish Peaks and Yellowstone Club community foundations. In past years, Big Sky soccer players were typically playing as an affiliate of the Bozeman Blitzz FC and driving to practice in Bozeman. Not anymore.
With those funds, the BSFC was able to purchase equipment and uniforms, secure opportunities to play this spring, and pay to certify coaches and referees. According to their website, the mission of the new soccer club will be to “promote and foster a love of the international game of futbol for players ages 4-19 years who live in the Big Sky community and surrounding areas.”
Club Director Kim Dickerson said she was overwhelmed by the interest in Big Sky having its own soccer club, initially expecting about 60 players and one travel team, registration closed this year with more than 110 players on rosters, enough for four travel teams and a total of seven teams with full rosters.
“We really were able to build off the momentum from the successful season of the co-ed high school soccer team this fall, coached by Tony Coppola,” said Dickerson. “I’m excited that we’ll be able to play and practice in our community this year. It’s going to be nice to have some home games. I just want the kids to have fun.”
“Kim really did some great work getting us to the point where we could form a board of directors and start gauging interest from the community,” said Club President Anita Romine. “We’ve received so much support from the community that our rosters are nearly maxed out.”
Beginning in April, the BSFC will offer programs ranging from the Mini-Challengers, a five week clinic exposing 4-5 year olds to the game, as well as recreational non-travel and travels teams for older participants.
Many children have already been participating in futsal, a variant of indoor soccer, at the Ophir Elementary School gym during the evenings. But with the snowpack slowly melting, the teams are hoping to be practicing on grass in the Big Sky Community Park by mid-April.