The Marco travel soccer ball is rolling.
An important meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Mackle Park to determine the potential number of teams.
Marco’s Audrey Darling of the Marco Soccer Club and Atonetta Rodi, president of the Bonita Soccer Club will have an informational and sign-up session. Team registrations need to be in to the Bonita Club before Aug. 19.
The city of Marco Island will not be involved with soccer program. It will receive a portion of the sign-up fee for the use and maintenance of city fields where games will be played.
Not being a city-sponsored program, the travel teams will be able to have off-Island participants, similar to the Marco Eagles football program that operates independently from the city, under the Optimist Club of Marco Island.
The participation fee per player will be $295, much less than other travel teams, with fees of more than $700, Rodi said. Also, by joining forces with Bonita Soccer Club, it will save the local club about $12,000 in state sanctioning fees. The Bonita Club, whose teams are the Bonita Storm, is already sanctioned and been playing in a travel league.
The Marco Soccer Club will have its teams, known as the Marco Storm. Its board members will also have seats on the Bonita Club board.
Other teams in the league are Naples, Fort Myers, San Carlos, Lehigh and Cape Coral.
Members of the Bonita Soccer Club came down to Marco twice in July for informational and sign-up sessions to help determine interest in a travel league. “Initially I was called by a number of people on Marco Island to have a licensed club so the kids have an opportunity to play at the highest level,” Rodi said.
The city of Marco, through its Parks & Recreation Department, initially looked into the potential of having travel teams, with it serving as a facilitator. Now, other than scheduling field use, the city will have no direct involvement.
Some Marco participants already have made verbal commitments and some payments. The Under 10 team has eight boys registered. Under 10 games are 6-on-6 competition. The Under 12 girls team has seven players with eight needed as that division plays 8-on-8 games. Under 14 girls, which plays 11-on-11, has seven registrants. An Under 14 boys team has four players from Marco and another eight from the East Naples area. They also play 11-on-11.
By playing on a travel team the soccer players have a chance to get recognized by college coaches. The teams play in travel tournaments and College Showcase events where coaches attend. Players also placed on gotsoccer.com where coaches can go for player profiles.
“We have had eight kids at college age receive scholarships,” Rodi said. ”I think this is a great opportunity for the Marco area kids.”