NPYSA seeks to boost enrollment, add more teams

NPYSA seeks to boost enrollment, add more teams

The North Providence Youth Soccer Association’s U-11 girls’ team with coach Aldo Luna, at right. The team took first place this year in the Superliga State Championship.

NORTH PROVIDENCE – With registration for the fall 2019 season underway, leaders of the North Providence Youth Soccer Association say they are hoping to boost enrollment numbers for the year-round local sport and create more competitive teams.

While the organization saw a slight increase from 300 children in the recreation program last year to 330 this year, Aldo Luna, a member of the board, said only about 120 go on to play in the competitive program.

He added that they’ve also seen drop-offs after the fall season, especially with older kids.

“Once it becomes competitive, we lose them,” Luna, who coaches his son’s U-14 boys team and his daughter’s U-11 girls team, told The Breeze. “Once you lose them for the winter, you lose them for the spring.”

While the organization offers programs in the fall, winter, and spring, some kids after the fall season switch to other sports and activities, including basketball, baseball, softball, dance, and gymnastics, Luna said.

Other surrounding communities, including Lincoln and Cumberland, have seen boosts in enrollment in recent years.

Soccer is a great way for kids to build friendships and get out of the house, Luna said.

NPYSA, a volunteer-run organization created more than 30 years ago and a member of U.S. Youth Soccer, is open to adolescents in North Providence and surrounding communities, ages 4 to 19.

Children ages 4 to 6 play on the Little Strikers team in the fall, Luna said, while the recreation program has teams for kids ages 6 to 16.

The league’s competitive program includes U-8, U-11, U-12, U-14, U-16, and U-19 teams that play against other towns from October to July, in the Rhode Island Youth Super Liga.

This year, the girls’ U-11 team had a handful of new players and ended up taking first place in the Superliga State Championship, Luna said. “They had a great year for a brand new team,” he said.

“Even though it’s a small town, we are very competitive,” Luna said. “When we go up against other towns we play very hard and very well (and) win a lot of awards.”

“We’re trying to make it fun (for the kids),” he added.

The cost per year is $500 to $600, Luna said. “It’s an affordable sport,” he said.

The organization operates primarily from registration fees but also relies on sponsor donations to help keep registration fees down and to help with major projects, leaders say.

Operating expenses include game jerseys, equipment for games and practices such as balls, cones, pinnies, goalie gloves and jerseys, corner flags, goals and nets; equipment and supplies for field maintenance such as line-painting machines, paint, sandbags; referee fees, trophy and award celebrations, and more.

Past major projects include outfitting both NPYSA and Ricci School Soccer Complex Field with high quality, durable goals.

Teams practice and play at Ricci Middle School, and in the winter, they use Wide World of Indoor Sports in North Smithfield, Luna said.

“The town (of North Providence) gives us plenty of support,” Luna said.

Registration for the fall 2019 season is now open; register by Aug. 1 to avoid late fees.

To register and for more information, visit www.npysa.org . Contact npysa@npysa.org with questions.