HARTSVILLE, S.C. – The Coker College women's soccer staff is bringing new opportunities to the Hartsville community. Head coach Dan Muns and assistant coaches Jackie DeNova, Mark Stewart and Hillary Cockrell have spearheaded Hartsville United, a U.S. Club Soccer affiliated program.
The newly-formed league just completed its first season that began in August and ended in December. Muns serves as an at-large board member and coach; DeNova is a head coach; Stewart is a head coach and director of coaching; and Cockrell is a coach.
Hartsville United is designed to give local kids an opportunity to play club soccer, something the area did not have until now. Whether it is for someone trying to hone their skills or learn the game, the league aims to provide kids the chance to play soccer.
"This is a great way to get kids involved and learn how to play competitive soccer," added Muns. "We want this to be a situation where they really flourish. It's a place where kids can grow or master their soccer skills."
Teams are offered in the following age groups: Under 10, 12, 14 and 19. Training consists on the Coker soccer fields and at nearby Byerly Park. Games, which are usually played in tournaments, take place on Saturdays. Thus far, tournaments have been played in Hartsville, Florence, Lexington and Lancaster.
"We have lots of people investing a great deal of time and effort for this," said Muns. "Coker has been awesome about facilitating particular items with facilities and fields, as has Byerly. We couldn't do what we've been able to thus far without their support."
The Hartsville United program has been working in conjunction with the youth leagues offered by the Hartsville YMCA. The program helps to serve as the next step for those players ready to move up. The YMCA offers youth soccer up to age 12.
"The YMCA has been key in this process," said Muns. "This league is for when the kids get a bit older, just out of range from YMCA league level. We're offering the option for kids who want to keep moving along in soccer."
The league had between 70 and 80 players try out for the fall, and about 78 percent of the participants were male. The league would like to get female-only teams at all age levels, if possible.
"The priority of the club is to have competitive teams for both males and females," Muns said. "We want to ensure the entire community is involved."
The club is about to begin part two of its inaugural season. The spring season begins Jan. 22 at Coker. Training runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. Games begin Feb. 16. The U10 and U12 teams are the only ones with a spring season, as the remainder of participants are involved in school-affiliated teams.
Once the spring season is completed, Hartsville United will hold tryouts for next season later this summer. Tryouts are open to boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 19. Cost is $200 for a full season, $150 for half a season.
Hartsville United is made up of players from Thomas Hart Academy, Emmanuel Christian School, and Hartsville Middle and High Schools, among others.
Hartsville United Mission Statement
An individual player's talent, on its own, is a very important prerequisite for success, but not a guarantee for the highest level. The Hartsville United soccer program is offering professional training to its players and is helping them become the best that they can be in this sport that they choose to specialize in. Hartsville United is an institution that will help our talented kids develop and maximize their own personal creativity in all aspects of educational, sporting and cultural activities.
Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the "Best Colleges" in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.