In San Pedro’s Field of Dreams, Harbor Youth Soccer League and Cal South came together last Saturday morning to begin fulfilling a dream, to help grow the game of soccer in the community in what would be the start of their new season.
Hundreds of eager young players were in attendance for a full day of activities. To kick off the day, everyone took their team picture, as well as individuals, however, there were a lot more stations to stop by, from an inflatable human foosball table to trying out their luck in Cal South’s raffles. Harbor Youth Soccer League hosted several games throughout the day, pulling families to check out the talent that the South Bay has to offer.
Last April, Harbor YSL became its own entity, a breather for many, but it just meant that the real work to become a Cal South Sanctioned League had just begun. The Harbor YSL community came together and knew what they wanted, and through their Director of Recreation Liz Parker, made it happen.
“As a community, we wanted to start something new, but we didn’t know where to start,” Parker told calsouth.com. “The help and amount of support from Cal South and FRAM has been, it’s just unbelievable to me, it makes my heart full. I ask a question that I think, ‘Oh, they’re going to think this is so stupid,’ and it’s not. Every step of the way I feel like I had somebody to go to.
“The reason we wanted to start a new program is because we feel that in our community we needed some changes. We live in a community that is two-income families, not a lot of time to volunteer and they probably have other commitments,” she added.
But it was Parker and her team of volunteers that put in all their commitment into making Harbor YSL happen. From their previous program, HSYL counted on 900 players, but when the opportunity came to create their own program, the Board of Directors was skeptic on their player registration numbers. However, Parker reassured them that they would have 600 players by the time season kicked off.
By season kick off on Saturday morning, HYSL had 635 registrations, not counting the dozens of walk-up registrations they had that day, fulfilling yet another dream.
“I’m a big person on dreams and that night I had a dream that we were going to have 600 kids,” Parker said. “We hit our goal, we surpassed our goal, and I just feel like this season is just going to prove to people who did end up leaving San Pedro and this community in soccer, that they can come back. We have kids from Redondo Beach, we have kids from Torrance, Compton, that are coming here because they want to see that there’s an option here.”
In Saturday’s season inauguration, the hard work behind-the-scenes was all coming to life. Everything that HYSL had put their minds to do, was being fulfilled, to have over 600 kids eager to play soccer in their community, parents eager to see their children give it their best and volunteers that were more than happy to lend a helping hand.
Cal South’s Recreational Manager Rick Flores worked first-hand with Parker through the process, and is happy with where the league is now, but is eager to see them grow in the future.
“Cal South is excited to have Harbor Youth Soccer League added as one of our programs,” Flores said. “Liz and her team have done an extraordinary job and we look forward to continuing to work with them in any way we can and to see them grow and become one of our most elite leagues.”