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Soccer is a family affair in North Texas’ Cooke County.
On a rainy day in 2000, a children’s soccer game was in jeopardy of
being cancelled for lack of a referee. Rather than disappoint the youngsters
who were primed to play, Kelli Walker, only five days from giving birth to
her third child, came to the rescue and officiated the game. Several days
after the delivery, she was back at work writing payroll checks for referees.
“I don’t know how to not do this,” says Walker, secretary and treasurer
for the Gainesville-based Cooke County Soccer Association (CCSA). “Doing this
is something I take pride in.”
Walker, who says her last-minute refereeing stint may have helped her
win the Parent of the Year award that year, is just one example of how
passionate CCSA members are about soccer.
“All of the members on the board are soccer enthusiasts to the bone,”
says Walker, who joined the association in 1997 when her 7-year-old son began
playing. “[The association] is definitely family-oriented. We have a strong
family tie in the association.”
The association, which serves Gainesville, Muenster, Valley View,
Lindsay, Whitesboro, Callisburg and other surrounding communities, is determined
to keep kids playing together. More than 95 percent of CCSA teams are age-pure,
meaning every child on the team is the same age. Unlike most other associations,
in which players are chosen from throughout the organization, the CCSA’s team
breakdown is according to geographic region.