Co-ed soccer league has a foothold - The Explorer: Sports

Co-ed soccer league has a foothold

Northwest adult league plays Friday nights

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Posted: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:19 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

World Cup soccer has gripped "futbol" fans across the planet, and in America.

In the Northwest, a different brand of soccer has found a foothold.

Family fun is valued over fierce competition in the Northwest Adult Soccer League. While it may not be as intense as other leagues, lifelong players have become core components of the NWASL.

Caleb Goodman, co-captain of the Gold Diggers, has played since he was a kid. He's been in the league the last five years, and started the Gold Diggers with his brother Aaron three years ago. Sister Aubrey and brother Vance play on the team, too.

"It's one of the only co-ed leagues in this area," said Goodman. "It's fun getting to play with your sister and two brothers."

Another captain, Ryan Blevins, has been playing in the league for three years. He started his own team, Lithium, two years ago, and said he enjoys just getting to play with a bunch of friends from high school.

Whether the players are family or friends, the NWASL brings a relaxed atmosphere to a competitive game. Anybody who is over the age of 18 can sign up, and the seasons run all year long. The fall season starts Aug. 6, with registration due July 2. It cost $85 for a new member to sign up.

Players must fill out a registration form and conduct form, make a legible copy of their driver's license to verify age and address, and provide a digital picture to the league by e-mailing it to board@nwasl.org.

Teams consist of 11 players, and a minimum of seven players are required to start a game. Teams must also have at least three women on the field at all times.

One of the major rule differences with other soccer is that no slide tackling is allowed in the NWASL. Rules and regulations say that whether the act is accidental or not, it will result in an indirect free kick for the opposing team, and may result in a yellow or red card.

"It's about how you interpret it," said Andy Bencomo, a referee in the league. "Some of the rookies in the league just forget. If that happens, I usually go have a talk with them, and tell them 'you're not allowed to do that here'."

Three games are played on Friday nights at each of five fields. The league utilizes 21 fields across Tucson. Games start at 6, 7:20 and 8:40 p.m. For more information, visit www.nwasl.org.

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