North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

August 8, 2012

Progress 2012: Gooch winning people over to soccer

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

KIMBERLY —  

Donnie Gooch is winning the battle for soccer.
The director of the North Jefferson Soccer Club, which calls Kimberly City Park its home, has seen a big uptick in participation in the game over the last four years.
“When I started this, I had 96 kids,” Gooch said. “Now I’m averaging somewhere north of 190 kids every season, fall and spring, for a total of almost 400 kids for a calendar year.”
Gooch called the clubs “North Jefferson” to avoid the impression that they were just for kids in Kimberly.
“I have Corner kids, Warrior kids, Trafford and a lot of kids from Hayden since there’s no more soccer programs there,” Gooch said. “We cover every age group, all the way up to under-18s.”
The club has had a good relationship with Kimberly, Gooch said. They provide the space at the park and helped buy the original goals. Gooch and his organization maintain the fields.
The NJSC fields teams for teenagers in a seven-man club league. Nearly all of their players come from Mortimer Jordan High, which does not have a varsity soccer team of its own. Gooch would love to change that. 
“We have the support. We have teachers willing to sponsor it. If [Jordan] would pay for a coach — about $2,500, I think — and maintain the field, we could make it happen,” Gooch said. 
Registration for fall play is from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday and Aug. 11 at Kimberly City Hall.
On the web: www.njsoccerclub.com