A Shift in Charlottesville Soccer

Update 16 July 2010: Charlottesville’s getting an indoor turf field … at the Ice Park.

Plans are to offer an ice rink for six months of the year, from October through March, and a turf field for the remainder of the year. Visitors to the arena will now be able to take part in both winter and summer sports programs, from public ice skating to indoor soccer and lacrosse.

Courteney Stuart has more at the HooK on Mark Brown, the new owner of the Ice Park.


You probably didn’t hear it, but a shift happened on Sunday in the Charlottesville soccer scene.

Playing and coaching soccer in Charlottesville for years, first coaching one kid from U-8 up and in the process of starting another, playing in SOCA’s adult league for nearly seven years, I have always lamented the lack of soccer league competition. No more.

Last Sunday marked the first week of soccer for CvilleSocial. The early reviews are that it’s fantastic to have soccer competition in Charlottesville. Turf fields. For soccer players in Charlottesville, this is Huge.

The big dog in the Charlottesville soccer scene has (always) been SOCA – the Soccer Organization of Charlottesville. Monticello United has recently offered competition for the youth league as well, but there has never been more than one option for adult soccer in Charlottesville.

Here’s a quick primer on adult soccer in Charlottesville/Albemarle:

SOCA offers Spring and Fall 11 -v- 11, Summer 8 -v- 8 and Winter indoor 5 -v- 5 (our region desperately needs an indoor soccer facility … and there might be hope for that).

CvilleSocial’s Summer offering is 6 -v- 6 on TURF fields. Yep, turf. At the newly-renovated Park at UVA. The Park is located just down the hill from UVA’s Law and JAG schools.

Update 10 June 2011: Image of “The Park” removed at their request. But, you can see it here.

And get this – they are going to be offering 7 -v- 7 (with different skill groups) in the fall, September 26 – November 21, 9am to 2pm on Sundays with a max of 20 teams.

CvilleSocial was founded by Chad Day, who moved to Charlottesville in 2006 from Northern Virginia. The league was founded on 8 June 2006, and the soccer league has 153 soccer players – the most ever for a first time sport. (Soccer’s big, you know. Even in the USA. And definitely in Charlottesville: See UVA Men and Women)

Over the years, I have played on great fields and terrible fields. This summer marked one of the worst fields I have ever played on; so terrible that I considered not playing due to fear of injuring my ankles (I did suffer a hole in my knee due to a rock/dirt cluster). Don’t get me wrong – SOCA’s South Fork soccer park has tremendous fields. Crozet Park’s soccer field is great. But this summer was tremendously disappointing. All it takes is one bad experience, combined with a competitive offering, to change a market.

I can’t make much time for the socializing aspects of CvilleSocial, “the City’s largest social club,” (I have been intrigued by their kickball and dodgeball leagues) but I’ll certainly play some soccer.

So, SOCA. Thanks for the years, but I will be seriously considering CvilleSocial for my soccer needs.

More than a game.

Did you know that the International Rescue Committee has resettled hundreds of refugees in the Charlottesville area?

In 1998, the IRC began resettling refugees in Charlottesville, a community of about 41,000 people. A tourist destination and home to the University of Virginia, Charlottesville enjoys low unemployment and many job opportunities.

More important, the community has demonstrated strong interest and volunteer support for the IRC’s efforts, says Susan Donovan, resettlement director at the Charlottesville IRC. The Charlottesville IRC now resettles up to 150 refugees per year in the city and surrounding area.

David Brown, mayor of Charlottesville, said the city has become more diverse because of the new refugee residents. “Their participation has improved the soccer teams in the area,” he joked.

Fugee Soccer

Bridging the Gap works with the Soccer Organization of Charlottesville-Albemarle (SOCA) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) of Charlottesville’s Family Support division to register children on soccer teams and provide them with transportation to and from practices and games. Many volunteer groups use the soccer experience to base their mentoring around. Fugee Soccer usually has about 35 children participating each season.

Soccer has always been more than a game; it’s a way to stay fit (Charlottesville was named by Men’s Journal as one of the Top 5 Healthiest towns), connected to the community. I’m looking forward to this new league.

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  2. Jane Kulow July 14, 2010 at 20:48

    Jim, I don’t know if you saw anything about this book/author that came to last spring’s Virginia Festival of the Book — Warren St. John, author of Outcasts United — but I think you might enjoy the story. He presented at a number of schools, inc. WAHS; his book is about a refugee soccer league in Clarkston, GA, also an IRC settlement community. Great book if it were just about the soccer, but also deals with the issues the community faced and how they responded.

  3. Roger M. July 15, 2010 at 12:00

    Correction: field at Crozet Park USED to be good. It has deteriorated markedly over the past few years.


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