Soccer association seeing dramatic growth in New Prague

Bret Wegner, president of the New Prague Soccer Association, admits that New Prague has always been pretty much a baseball town.

While he knows he may not be able to change that, he and other members of the club are working to make sure that New Prague’s soccer program gets its share of athletes. He believes the community can support multiple sports at high levels.

The soccer association started in 2010 with about 100 players and seven teams. That number has grown to more than 320 players on 21 teams this summer, and signs show the growth will continue.

The soccer association now offers year-round programming, the spring/summer league, a fall league and a winter indoor league, which plays at Soccer Blast in Burnsville and the Dundas dome.

One obstacle to the growth is the shortage of outdoor fields in New Prague. The association has been discussing the situation with representatives from the city and the New Prague Area Schools, trying to develop a vision for an outdoor soccer complex.

Currently the New Prague teams use grass fields at the high school, another field at Eagle View Elementary in Elko New Market and the artificial turf field at Trojan stadium for home games. More spaces are needed for games and practice.

"We’ve been averaging a 15 to 18 percent growth each year in participation. We have teams ranging from youth up to U18," Wenger noted.

In addition, they hope to grow the game for older players. "We’re going to try to start a weekly pickup game for young adults who have outgrown the youth program, so they can continue to enjoy soccer as a lifelong sport," Wegner said.

The local association has also reached out to...

 

To see more on this story pick up the July 27, 2017 print edition of The New Prague Times.