Online soccer registration for United Futbol Academy’s fall season opens May 1. For more information, go online at www.UnitedFA.org.
Officials with the new organization chosen to oversee Dawson County’s parks and recreation soccer program have pledged that fees will not increase.
Deo Moleka, executive director of development for United Futbol Academy, said in a statement last week that officials understand the concerns of parents.
“[We] will be keeping the same fees that Dawson County residents were previously charged through the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons,” Moleka said.
According to a news release from the club, the only additional costs would be those associated with optional training for players who want it.
The county parks and recreation department began talks with the academy earlier this year after a three-year partnership with Dawson County United Soccer Club.
Lisa Henson, director of parks and recreation, said the switch followed more than a year of negotiations with Dawson County United.
Late payments for field use, delays in game scheduling and a poor relationship with the school system contributed to the change, she said.
Calls seeking comment from officials with Dawson County United were not returned Monday.
Director Anton Sieber has previously said the group will continue its soccer program and look for private land for new soccer fields.
Upset over the switch and worried about a possible price hike, parents flooded Henson with e-mails, threatened to protest and signed petitions against the move.
However, Henson said she received just as many positive comments and letters from parents.
United Futbol Academy, she said, is “positioned to take the Dawson County soccer program to the next level.”
“United FA’s emphasis on ‘Skills for Soccer, Skills for Life’ confirms their commitment to building character through the youth sports experience,” Henson said.
Chuck Beaty has children who play recreational soccer and for an academy team through Dawson County United at Rock Creek Park.
“I am excited about UFA. I have been to their Web site and like the backgrounds that their coaching staff brings,” he said “They look to bring a great knowledge base to the game.”
According to the news release, United Futbol’s coaching staff includes professional trainers who will develop soccer skills in players from the most basic levels up.
Moleka noted the organization’s tournaments and camps “will have a positive financial impact on the community.”
In the news release, parent Michele Shively noted the partnership will help the local high school and middle school soccer programs become more competitive at the regional and state levels.
“I drive my daughters to Forsyth County multiple times a week to benefit from the United FA coaches,” she said. “Dawson County will only benefit from having the experience and organization United FA brings.”
In an e-mail to Henson, Dawson County High School Principal Jute Wilson thanked the parks and rec board “for supporting the efforts to keep school athletics and the rec department on the same page.”
“We have an outstanding community and tremendous opportunities for the kids of Dawson County,” he wrote.
Don Schultz, United Futbol Academy’s executive director, said the organization’s staff looks forward to serving Dawson residents “with the strongest local soccer program available.”
“We look forward to developing a strong relationship with the people of Dawson County, local businesses and the schools,” he said.
To that end, the club has planned two town hall meetings for the community to learn more about the academy.
The meetings will be held at 6:30 p.m. April 29 and May 13 at Rock Creek Park.