WATSON — Soccer lovers from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade learned basic soccer skills Saturday at a soccer clinic led by members of the LSU women’s soccer team at Live Oak High School.
“I’m so thankful to the LSU players for coming out,” said Jimmy Cook, soccer coach at Live Oak Middle and High schools and founder of FC Galaxy, the local soccer club that sponsored the clinic. “It’s something exciting for the community.”
Participants played from 10 a.m. to noon on the Live Oak soccer field, rotating through eight 10-minute stations.
LSU players and Live Oak High School players headed up each station and had the participants practice skills such as shooting, passing and heading the ball.
“We want to work on the basic fundamental skills of soccer and create an interest in the sport,” Cook said.
This past fall was the first time Watson had a recreational soccer league, he said.
Before Cook founded FC Galaxy, Watson residents traveled either to Denham Springs or Baton Rouge to play soccer, Shanna Patterson said.
Patterson’s daughter, a freshman on the Live Oak High women’s soccer team, has been interested in soccer for years, but there was never a place for her to play in Watson, Patterson said.
“I was told that there would never be soccer in Watson,” Patterson said. “And honestly, if Jimmy hadn’t come to coach the middle school, there may never have been.”
The 2011-2012 school year, the founding year of the Live Oak Middle School soccer team, was the first time that any middle school in Livingston Parish had a soccer team, Patterson said.
“To see all these kids here for the clinic just blows my mind,” Patterson said. “I would have never thought that there would be this many young kids in Watson that wanted to come out and play soccer.”
“It gets the kids involved and is a great opportunity for kids to meet their heroes and to find new heroes,” said Cook.
“It’s like they’re developing a bond, and it carries on.”
“It’s lots of fun to work with the kids and pass on our knowledge to them,” said Danielle Murphy, a junior on the LSU women’s soccer team.