REDMOND, OR -- Redmond hasn’t had youth club soccer in nearly a decade. Currently, Redmond kids too old for Parks and Recreation, but not yet in high school, either participate in out of town leagues or don’t play at all. But, Ridgeview High School head soccer coach Jimmy Kim wants to change that. He believes not having a high-level middle school soccer program in town puts Redmond’s high school teams at a competitive disadvantage. He acknowledges "It is a bit self-serving," because he wants student athletes better prepared before they get to ninth grade. But, he tells KBND News, "I’d like to compete for state titles, you know. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s giving these kids something, but at the same time, preparing them for high school, so we can have a higher level of high school teams."
Kim is working to launch a soccer club for fourth through eighth grade boys and girls, this summer. "Most of those kids haven’t played in middle school because middle school soccer isn’t available unless you’re playing club. And, that’s part of what I’m trying to do is just bridge that gap, so the kids in our community have an opportunity to continue to play and play at a higher level." He says the only club options for Central Oregon kids are in Bend or Eugene. And, he says high fees and extra travel time puts those teams out of reach for many families. His Redmond club, he says, will be more cost effective, "It’s going to be a low-cost, affordable club. We’re not doing this as a business. We’re trying to fill a need. We want to provide this for the community because the community needs it."
Club soccer has been tried in Redmond, before. RYSA - the Redmond Youth Soccer Association - lasted just a couple of years but folded nearly 10 years ago. Kim believes this time will be different, "We’re going to try to start out and do it the right way, to begin with." He tells KBND News, "We’re going to get a board in place; we’re going to become a corporation, be a nonprofit and then we’re going to be a OYSA [Oregon Youth Soccer Association] sanctioned club, so that we have all the possibilities, as far as the different types of leagues we can enter." He also wants to attract players from Prineville, Culver, Madras and Sisters, as well as from across the Redmond area.
Families interested in the yet-to-be named Redmond soccer club are invited to an informational meeting Saturday at 3 p.m., at the Ridgeview High soccer field. Kim says the response to his idea, so far, has been "fantastic." But, the meeting will help him better measure community interest and get people excited. He hopes to hold try-outs on June first.