By Roderick Wilbon, Sports Editor
On September 9 at the Don Dallas Soccer Field the Tiny Tritons’ Program held its first soccer clinic, led by the University of Missouri-Saint Louis Triton Women’s Soccer Team. The skies were bright blue, the sun was not unbearable, and parents and children rushed in the event. Parents included some professors, faculty, students, staff, and others from the surrounding community. The Tiny Tritons ranged from 2 to 13-year-olds.
The event had stations and stages for the children. Kids started off warming up with soccer balls, passing between each other and two or more UMSL soccer players. At the next station, Tiny Tritons were displaying their goal scoring and penalty kicks. They switched between the kicker and the goalie to learn the skills of both positions. The last station was working with footwork on the ground ladder. It was a sight to see the Tiny Tritons try to master the techniques of the Women Tritons. The kids and parents were both having a ball.
At break time, UMSL provided prepacked sliced oranges and a bottle water for the Tiny Tritons and parents. After the break, the Tiny Tritons were placed in two teams, blue and green, to face off. The game did not go as well as everyone thought. Goals were being scored on the wrong goals and another ball somehow was introduced confusing a few Tiny Tritons. A two-year-old girl’s jersey was just a little too big and it continued to trip her up all match. The match became quite the spectacle.
The Tiny Triton’s program is just one of the many community outreach programs hosted and created by UMSL. Esther Robinson, full-back, freshman, engineering, was one of the many players. “It’s about kids learning soccer, but mainly for kids to come out, have fun and experience something different,” said Robinson.
Head Coach Wendy Dillinger and Assistant Coach Chris Sellers have started a similar program at Jennings High School called FC 18-21. Sellers is also a well-known teacher at Jennings High School. They have been at this program for over two years now and believe it has positively affected the community. “Our thoughts are how do we bring the passion of unity and soccer to other areas,” said Sellers. “We’re all here in North County between UMSL and Jennings, it just makes sense.”