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World Cup fever catching

Elizabeth Saulsbury • Jul 1, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Much of the nation is currently in the grasp of World Cup fever.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup has been the subject of news, discussion and water-cooler conversation since its beginning June 12. Kids in the Johnson City area will have the opportunity to try their hands — or rather, their feet — at soccer this fall.

Registration for Johnson City Parks and Recreation youth soccer will start today and end Aug. 10. The cost is $25 for city residents and $35 for non-city residents. Registrations will be accepted online at www.myjcparks.org or at the Winged Deer Park Athletic Tower weekdays from 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m.-noon. Children ages 3-15 can participate, with ages 3-5 in a co-ed league. Season play will begin Sept. 6.

“It’s a good sport for kids,” said David Carmichel, athletics manager for Johnson City Parks and Recreation. “You don’t have to buy a lot of specialized equipment like you do for other sports like baseball and football. You really only need to buy shin guards and cleats.”

“Parents watch the soccer and say, ‘hey, this is a cool sport. I want my kid to be involved with that,’ ” Carmichel said. “If kids watch the World Cup, they get excited about soccer too.”

According to Carmichel, it is not uncommon for people in the Johnson City area to become more involved with a sport after watching a large tournament for it.

“A good example is tennis,” Carmichel said. “After a big tournament like Wimbledon, we have more people out here on the tennis courts.”

As it does on a worldwide scale, soccer serves as a unifying factor for all types of nationalities in Johnson City.

“We have two different user groups that rent our fields from us,” Carmichel said. “One is an American league, and one is an international league. If you go over to Civitan Park in the evening after a World Cup game, you’ll see a lot of nationalities out there on the fields.”

Carmichel anticipates the FIFA World Cup will influence the amount of registration for the coming season of youth soccer.

“It’s hard to see number-wise what (the World Cup) will do to registration,” said Carmichel. “In the past, it tends to increase, especially if America does well.”

For more information on Johnson City Parks and Recreation youth soccer, visit www.johnsoncitytn.org/parksrec/athletics.

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