When the Cutler Ridge Soccer Club starts its new season on Sept. 13 it will do so with a newly installed board of officers. Virtually all of them are Cutler Bay residents, according to sponsorship coordinator James Loria.
“The club has been in existence 42 years,” Loria said. “We’re one of two of the oldest clubs in the state of Florida. I personally have been involved as a parent since my son was 7 years old, and he’s now 16. This is my first year as a member of the board.”
Loria explained that board members must have a child who is a player in the club. They do not allow board members from outside of the organization.
“It’s all strictly volunteer, and we put our heart and soul into it because our children are there,” Loria said.
The new Cutler Ridge Soccer Club Board members are: president, Paul Massingill; vice president, Alvaro Rodriguez; secretary, Deborah Ruiz; registrar, Becky McLaren; treasurer, Jeanny Labourdette, team manager liaison, Veronica Rode; sponsorship coordinator, James Loria; academy parent liaison, Raul Benitez, and competetive parent liaison, Jermaine Gray.
Directors are DOC, Chris Ellison; director of development, Fernando Duprey, director of transition, Graeme Griffith.
The soccer club has its headquarters at Cutler Ridge Park, 10100 SW 200 St. Players range from as young as age 4 to as old as 18, in groups at different levels. There are teams for both boys and girls.
“We have what’s called the recreational level and we have the competitive level,” Loria said. “On the recreational level, the kids practice in the evening or on Saturdays. The competitive level is more the kids who are a step above that, and they travel, in
Florida and even throughout the country, competing with other teams in other leagues, and in tournaments as well.”
Registration is going on now. The first chance to sign up was on Aug. 16, but there are two more registration dates scheduled, on Aug. 23 and Sept. 6. “On the recreational level, depending on the age group, they practice twice a week, and then they have games on Saturday at Cutler Ridge Park,” Loria said.
“On the competitive level, that’s a little more intense. They start off at U9 and go to U18 and they can practice as much as three or four times a week and maybe have one game on a weekend, sometimes even two. Each practice can last from two to two and a half hours. This is a step above any soccer player that would play for their high school or middle school team.”
Loria said that some club players have received college scholarships and that colleges would rather look at a club level player than at a school level player.
“We even had one player who got recruited to one of the European teams, straight out of high school,” he said.
The club’s mission statement says, in part,“Our program focuses on improving their skills, teaching good sportsmanship, building self-esteem, and helping the young players develop leadership qualities. CRS has always taken great pride in providing an opportunity to every child interested in playing, regardless of background, demographics or financial circumstances.”
Loria said that their club has some advantages, especially with a new project they are working on currently. “We are probably one of the least expensive clubs for a competitive club in the state of Florida,” he said.
“We are developing a program to assist parents who feel that their child is college bound for soccer, so we’ll be putting some tools on the website and having workshops within the club telling them what they need to do to find scholarships and how to apply for them.”
Loria added that as club sponsorship coordinator he is looking for sponsors who want to have their name associated with Cutler Ridge Soccer.
To register or for information visit the website at www.cutlerridgesoccer.net or call 305-558-7822.