Red Paws Soccer Club set for January tryouts

Founders of Weiser’s new nonprofit Red Paws Soccer Club, Dylan Brown, left, and Trine Loenberg, sat down with the Weiser Signal American last week. Plans include a full spectrum of age division teams under the Red Paws header, building on the fundamentals of the sport as the athletes grow, and the opportunity to continue development during the middle school years, which until now has left a gap in player growth at this end of the valley. Photo by Nancy Grindstaff
Nancy Grindstaff
A new era of soccer development in Weiser is set to open in the coming new year with the founding of Red Paws Soccer Club.
 With a goal to provide a deeper and broader soccer experience to youth who want to build on the sport’s fundamentals, Red Paws’ plans are for open tryouts for 6- to 18-year-olds at the Weiser Soccer Complex at 11 a.m. on Jan. 6. Of course, we all know weather conditions could impact the location, so they will have an alternative venue lined up should it be needed.
 The official invitation to the tryouts can be found at the Red Paws Soccer Club facebook page. Its introduction welcomes area athletes to a “competitive, focused environment free from the usual high prices and parental pressure of club soccer.” There is an initial cost of $100, which provides players with two jerseys, shorts, socks and a backpack, but the nonprofit status of the club leaves the door open for player financial assistance.
 “Our commitment is that money should never cost a kid the chance to play,” the post reads.
 Sitting down with Trine Loenberg and Dylan Brown, the new club’s founders, at the end of November, the pair told the Weiser Signal American Red Paws has already been registered as a nonprofit with the State of Idaho, and its federal registration is in the works.
 Weiser High School’s head girls soccer coach, Loenberg said she had been thinking about doing something like this for several years, and credits WSD athletic director Bowe von Brethorst for connecting her to Brown.
 “I really wanted to get this started, but I don’t know anything about paperwork, and I got Dylan’s number from Bowe,” Loenberg said.
 Brown said he had just helped get a Fruitland club started last year, and ended up coaching, as well.
 “I have a baby coming in May, so I wanted something closer to home,” Brown said. “I knew the ins and outs to get this started, the same things we needed in Fruitland last year.”
 A 2008 Middleton High School graduate, Brown had played soccer throughout his youth, including a year at Linfield College. He said he has continued playing since, as well. He spent another six years as a reporter on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., covering primarily energy issues, before returning to Middleton to farm, and more recently moving with the operation to the Annex area.
 Coming to Weiser several years ago and having spent much of her life playing and coaching soccer in Norway, Loenberg said she figured out pretty quickly the distance and financial disparities for competitive league play this far out from the Boise, and Nampa/Caldwell area.
 “I did a club team in Ontario when I first got here, and then I did Inferno up in Caldwell,” Loenberg said. “I ended up with two teams, because I just can’t say no to kids.
 “This has been on my mind since I got here,” she added. “I was shocked that there wasn’t any club and when I did the one in Ontario and went off to Boise, just to see how much it cost, it was hard to imagine it happening here. So, that’s why my whole goal is to get it up and running as a nonprofit, so that we can give all kids the chance and not only those who are well-off.”
 Looking at it on a national level, Brown said the U.S. pay-to-play model in soccer has likely cost lost opportunities for athletes, as well as the game on the whole.
 “Some of the best players in the world come out of the poorest neighborhoods,” Brown said. ”So, when we funnel just white middle class kids into the clubs, it kind of sets back the game in the United States and prevents a lot of opportunities just for kids to play.”
 They, along with many parents and players in this area, recognize the development gap shows up about the time kids reach middle school.
 “I think just having venues to play in, and the biggest gap is in middle school,” Brown added. “You can play when you’re little and are kind of learning, and then all of a sudden there’s this big gap. Then you’re supposed to play in high school and/or college.”
 Loenberg said the club will have to be registered for a year before they will be able to host competitive league games in Weiser.
 “Otherwise all of our ‘home’ games will be up in Boise, which is ridiculous and we can’t afford it,” she said. “So, in the first year, we are going to get our own little league where we will just play ‘friendlies’ with teams around the area and when we are established for a year, then we will apply, branch out and have our home games here.”
 Once the tryouts are held they will know more about what they will need in the area of coaches.
 “One of the things that is exciting talking to Trine about this is in Europe they have actual certification processes for coaches,” Brown said. “You’re not allowed to coach 11-year-olds unless you have specific skill sets for 11-year-olds. There are coaches at academies who make their living with only 13-year-olds. It’s nice she has a lot of those certifications, and it’s nice to know she will have that when she’s looking for coaches. They will be the right fit for the right age, and for kids to get better.“
 Historically, the growth of soccer in Weiser began in the 1990s, with the Weiser Soccer Complex on East Park Street developed in the latter part of the decade, along with the Weiser Soccer Association, an earlier nonprofit established prior to the sport’s sanctioning as an Idaho high school activity.
 There have been club teams formed off and on throughout the years, driven largely by parent coaches with soccer backgrounds. A difference in this new effort is not only a complete umbrella organization under which a full range of age divisions will be able to compete, but also its beginning by a pair of coaches without children of their own directly involved.


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

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