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PLYMOUTH â€” Children ages 8 to 13 have a fun opportunity this weekend to compete with their peers during the 2013 Ford Escape soccer skills challenge, a free event sponsored by Oliver Ford and held at the Plymouth soccerplex.
"Ford used to have a punt, pass, and kick contest 20 years ago, around football season," said Jennifer Houin of Oliver Ford. "Now, they told us they want to do a soccer challenge."
The event will be run by Duane Culp, president of Plymouth travel soccer, and Chuck DeWitt, Plymouth High School girls soccer coach.
"We are hopefully going to have all of our coaches and helpers there," said Culp. "DeWitt will also have the high school girls team there. This gives us a variety."
DeWitt said that the girls team will be helping with directing the children and demonstrating the skills they will be judged on. For the challenge, participants will complete six different skills, all timed. There will be three female and three male winners, and they will also have the opportunity to advance to a regional contest.
Both Culp and DeWitt said that they were interested in helping with the event because they are passionate about getting children involved in soccer.
"I love kids, soccer, and sports in general," said Culp, adding that he enjoys helping his own daughter with soccer. "I like to give back to my community. This will show the skill levels of what we have in Plymouth and surrounding communities. We might get to recruit somebody for travel soccer."
"Being a part of the soccer community, and a coach, I like to help in any way I can to raise awareness of soccer and encourage children to do better and compete," said DeWitt.
Any child between the ages of 8 and 13 is welcome to attend the event, and the first 50 to register will receive a free t-shirt. Parents who pre-register their children online will be entered to win a 2-year lease on a 2013 Escape, according to Houin, and one winner will be chosen in November. To register online, go to www.fordescapesoccerskillschallenge.com/register and use event code FUXBLBJV. Registering online will also give children access to videos on different soccer skills and a two-month iSoccerPlus membership.
The event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Plymouth soccerplex, and children should arrive dressed appropriately for soccer with cleats or tennis shoes. They should also bring something to drink and dress for the weather.