Soccer club offers free Lacey camps to ‘get everybody playing soccer,’ manager says – The Olympian

Got old shin guards lying around that your kids have outgrown or aren’t using? The Chinqually Booters Soccer Club — and low-income kids in Thurston County — will take them off your hands.

Chinqually hopes to reach kids in need this summer with its first-ever free soccer camps for elementary school-aged children, held in conjunction with the City of Lacey’s Playground Pals program. But they can’t do it alone.

While the club is able to provide most of the equipment necessary for the camps, including soccer balls and pinnies — the bright-colored vests worn to indicate teams in the absence of jerseys — they’re relying on the community for shin guards. If you have any extra pairs, new or used, you can donate them at Wembley’s Soccer Shop at 3700 Pacific Ave. SE.

“Everyone should be able to play soccer,” said Kathy Owen, who runs the summer lunch program as the Teen and Youth Program Supervisor for the City of Lacey. “Not just rich kids.”

More than 60 percent of the students at each of the camp’s host schools qualify for free or reduced-price meals. A household of four qualifies for reduced price meals if their annual income is less than $42,643 per year.

The camps are one of a few ways Chinqually is trying to get more kids on the field.

In addition to offering scholarships to kids who need them, the club recently developed a partnership with Lydia Hawk and Pleasant Glade elementary schools through Partners in Education, which allows students to play for free or at a discounted price, thanks to financial contributions from the schools.

The club also tries to accommodate the area’s military population by offering a military discount and often allowing military kids who are new to the area to join teams after registration closes.

They also brought translators to a parents’ night at Lydia Hawk to help parents of all language backgrounds register for the league.

“We’re trying to draw more kids in so they can be part of the community that we’re building,” said Debi Matthews, manager of soccer club.

The camps will be run by local soccer coaches — including Erika Dean, the J.V. women’s soccer coach at North Thurston High School — with help from high school soccer players.

The camps kick off at Pleasant Glade Elementary with a camp from July 11-13, followed by Lacey Elementary July 18-20 and Lydia Hawk Aug. 8-10. All of the camps run from 1:15-3:15 p.m. Kids grades K-5 are welcome to participate.

“I’m gonna get everybody playing soccer,” Matthews said.