HomeSportsSoccerCenter youth soccer season...

Center youth soccer season underway

ANNA MARIA – Three weeks into the spring adult co-ed recreational soccer league, the kids hit The Center’s pitches for fun-filled games on April 3.

As the youth sports program continues to grow to historic participation numbers and beyond, the energy at the Island’s community center on kids’ soccer nights is contagious. The two 3- to 4-year-old leagues have 20 little players being taught the game by volunteer coaches Lee Dickson and Emily Bekkerus.

Bekkerus’ team, Emily Moss Design, will face coach Dickson’s Cloud Pest Control squad throughout the season, learning more about soccer each week and growing friendships on the field.

While not keeping score, the focus is on the fun of the game while learning how to perform a throw-in, dribble the soccer ball down the field and make passes to teammates.

Continuing to play without counting the goals, the six teams playing in the 5- to 7-year-old league have over 60 little ballers battling each week on the soccer field while learning skills and getting touches on the ball.

With an emphasis on learning the sport and gaining a love for the game, the six volunteer coaches also teach sportsmanship, respect, integrity and teamwork.

Coach Bekkerus takes on two instructional-level teams this season, leading the second team in the 5- to 7-year-old age group with team MI-BOX. Back again this season, Karri Stephens guides the Beach Bums crew.

Coach David Moss brings his family’s athletic skill to team Blenker Boatworks, while Michael Nick finds time in his schedule to coach the youngest Sandbar-sponsored team this season.

Rounding out the league, Jessica Patel steps up to the plate to coach the Ugly Grouper team as Jesse Griffin continues his time as a volunteer coach to lead the Adrian Griffin Interiors squad this season.

Without volunteer coaches, youth sports would not be possible. The phrase “It takes a village” could not be truer than in community center kids’ activities and recreational sports.

As mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and family friends take the time to coach the Island kids, the spring youth soccer program is headed toward another successful season at The Center of Anna Maria Island.


Sun Scoreboard

April 4

Week 1



Sato Real Estate (1-0-0) 2

Westfall’s Lawn Care & Pest Control (0-1-0) 1



Cheesecake Cutie (1-0-0) 4

AMI Coconuts (0-1-0) 1



Island Real Estate (1-0-0) 1

Solid Rock Construction (0-1-0) 0



Week 1


Gulf Drive Café (1-0-0) 8

Shady Lady Horticultural Services (0-1-0) 1



Moss Builders (0-0-1) 5

HSH Designs (0-0-1) 5


April 6

Adult Co-Ed Soccer
Week 3


Sato Real Estate (2-1-0) 8

Pool America (1-2-0) 4



Sandbar Seafood & Spirits (2-1-0) 7

Vintage Beach (1-2-0) 2



Moss Builders (2-1-0) 4

Gulfview Windows & Doors (0-3-0) 3



Duncan Real Estate (2-1-0) 2

Solid Rock Construction (2-1-0) 1

Most Popular

More from Author

Miles Moss: Not stopped by Guillain–Barré

HOLMES BEACH - To anyone seeing him on the playground at...

Adult soccer heats up with two ties, two blowouts

ANNA MARIA – With the sun’s heat pounding on The Center...

Friends, family raise funds for The Center at LaPensee Bowling Tournament

ANNA MARIA – Sold out again this year, the Greg LaPensee...

The Center kicks off fall adult soccer

ANNA MARIA – One week after the effects of Hurricane Idalia,...

Commissioner Kruse hosts Island talk

HOLMES BEACH – Only 18 people came out to the Island Branch Library on a stormy Wednesday night to hear what Manatee County Commissioner-at-large George Kruse had to say, but the conversation continued for nearly two hours. Kruse held his monthly town hall meeting in Holmes Beach and...

Get ready for fabulous fall fishing

The first cold front is probably still a month or more away, but fish are showing up and now is a great time to prepare for the fall season, getting tackle in order and keeping an eye on the sky for diving birds and breaking fish. Under those...

Market in the eye of the beholder

To some people, our national real estate market is downright awful, but to others, it may be the best of real estate times. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. Don’t believe everything you read and, believe me, I read it all. Yes, it’s true that buyers,...

Painted rock honors young Iowa woman

ANNA MARIA – Bradenton Beach resident Rob Edwards made a heartwarming discovery while recently photographing the sunrise at the Anna Maria City Pier. Edwards, a retired electrician from New York, often takes photographs of the Island sunrises to send to his snowbird friends up north. On Sept. 9,...

Commissioners approve funding to remove derelict boats

BRADENTON BEACH – City commissioners have passed a request from Bradenton Beach Police Chief John Cosby to approve funding for the removal of derelict boats at the city pier following Hurricane Idalia. A proposed motion was read by Mayor John Chappie at the Sept. 21 commission meeting to...

Siddique, Shoemaker enter county commission race

MANATEE COUNTY – Democrat Diana Shoemaker and Republican Talha “Tal” Siddique both seek the District 3 Manatee County Commission seat currently held by Kevin Van Ostenbridge. Shoemaker announced her candidacy on Sept. 22. Siddique announced his candidacy on Sept. 19. District 3 includes all of Anna Maria Island, Cortez,...

Turtle season slows to a crawl

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – The 2023 turtle nesting season is coming to an early end, partly due to Hurricane Idalia. “No changes in nest numbers,” Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch Executive Director Kristen Mazzarella said. “That’s not surprising as this is usually the hatching time of year.” The last...

Ferry will stop at Anna Maria

ANNA MARIA – The city commission has approved an interlocal agreement that allows Manatee County to use the City Pier as a Gulf Island Ferry stop. The unanimous approval granted on Aug. 21 ends a lengthy negotiation process that included the mayor and city commissioners recently rejecting the...

Miles Moss: Not stopped by Guillain–Barré

HOLMES BEACH - To anyone seeing him on the playground at Anna Maria Elementary School or on the field at the Island’s community center, Miles Moss looks like any 8-year-old boy. Kicking the soccer ball on the field or in the gym at The Center, Miles has...

Sebring departs Anna Maria Commission

ANNA MARIA – City Commissioner Deanie Sebring has vacated her city commission seat. Sebring participated in her final commission meeting on Sept. 21. In October, she and her husband, Tripp, are moving to France. The remaining months of Sebring’s two-year term will be filled by a commission appointment...

Nesting News

Turtle nests laid: 405 (Record: 544 in 2019) False crawls: 438 (Record: 831 in 2010) Hatched nests: 295 (Record: 453 in 2022) Hatchlings: 22,995 (Previous record: 35,850 in 2022) Hatchling disorientations: 89 Source: Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring

Where’s Suzi?

Suzi, a female loggerhead sea turtle released from Coquina Beach after nesting and being satellite tagged on June 27, is in 7th place in a field of 11 turtles in the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s Tour de Turtles race, having traveled 743 miles. Suzi is swimming to bring...