The Granite Falls Soccer Association (GFSA), a regional sports club, has announced that its registration period for the 2018 spring/summer season is now open. The organization is offering coed youth soccer opportunities for experienced and novice players from surrounding communities at the U10 (birth years 2008 and 2009), U12 (birth years 2006 and 2007), U14 (birth years 2004 and 2005) and U17 (birth years 2001, 2002 and 2003) levels.

Last season, GFSA hosted three travel teams and nearly 50 youth soccer players. For the 2018 campaign, the club will expand to four levels with the possibility of more than one team per level, depending on the number of sign-ups and volunteers willing to coach.

“It’s very exciting that we are growing, but to feed the demand, we will need more volunteers to help out,” said head coach Joel Newberg. “To coach, you don’t need to know anything about soccer. We’ll teach you everything you need to know. You just need to have a passion for teaching and inspiring kids.”

Registration forms to play are available via www.GraniteFallsSoccer.com. The deadline for sign-ups is April 30, 2018.

For grades K-6, the club will offer a “Little Rapids” clinic in June through YME Community Education and Activities. GFSA is seeking sponsors for the upcoming season, including a uniform sponsor option, just like in the professional ranks. “Donations and sponsorships are the lifeblood of youth athletic programs,” said club treasurer Will Stark. “As a relatively new organization, we have been able to keep our fees low and provide opportunities for all kids in our area. All of this is made possible through the help of our sponsors.”

“As we’re embarking on an expansion of our club’s programs to the surrounding communities, we look to increase our sponsorships,” said Stark. “We’ve been able to prove that small towns can be competitive playing up against larger towns. Soccer is the fastest growing youth sport and the top five most popular for both girls and boys. It’s an easy sport to begin learning to play, which makes it exciting for youngsters almost immediately.”

In March, GFSA was awarded a competitive $3,000 field grant from the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association (MYSA) to purchase two new sets of goals for the club. “As interest in our program continues to rise, this generous award couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Newberg. “It certainly demonstrates the confidence MYSA has in the long-term future of our club.” GFSA has been an affiliate of MYSA since 2016.

Also in March, GFSA rolled out a new Rapids logo that will don custom team uniforms, which received a refreshed design as well for the new season. The new branding package was created by Dan Simon of Louisville, KY-based Studio Simon. “Dan has designed two Super Bowl logos, most of the logos for the Baseball Winter Meetings over the years, and numerous branding packages for minor league baseball and hockey,” said club president Alan Poff.

“We are so fortunate that Dan donated his valuable time and expertise to give our kids one of the best, most professional logos in the world of soccer.” Examples of Studio Simon’s work can be found at www.instagram.com/studio_simon/.

The upcoming season will mark GFSA’s fourth year in operation – and its third with all teams sporting the Granite Falls Rapids FC moniker -- providing a safe, fun, positive, respectful and challenging athletic learning environment where young soccer players are guided and inspired to reach their full potential both on and off the field.

For more information about the club, forms to play, or sponsorships, those interested can e-mail GraniteFallsSoccer@yahoo.com or go to www.GraniteFallsSoccer.com or the club’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/GraniteFallsSoccer.