When our kids were young, Georgia soccer was in it's infancy. One of our favorite Jekyll Island pass times was grabbing a soccer ball and heading out to the Jekyll Island Soccer Complex, where Martha and I would attempt to match (or just keep up with) the fluid movements of our boys as they dribbled the ball across the Complex's perfect pitch.
It's a great place to hang out with the family, kick a soccer ball around, and enjoy the wide-open grassed expanse. Sometimes, deer wander out of the surrounding maritime forest to feed at the edges of the fields.
The Jekyll Island Soccer Complex sits just off Beachview Drive, not far past the new Hampton Inn and Suites. This Georgia soccer venue serves over 600 youth players, boys and girls on U/9 through U/19 teams.
Jekyll Island soccer is run by the Golden Isles Soccer Association, which is a member of the Georgia Youth Soccer Association (GYSA). GYSA is recognized by the USSF (United States Soccer Association) as the controlling body for the development of youth soccer in Georgia.
The USSF is, in turn, a member of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), which administers soccer world-wide.
Georgia Soccer at its Best
The GISA fields Traveling teams (both Select and Recreational levels), as well as Micro teams (the instructional level).
There are some really cool perks to the Jekyll Island Soccer Complex. One, of course, is that it's only a hop, skip, and jump from the fields to the beach. Access is over the boardwalk to Glory Beach, where you'll traverse a transitional forest and dune ecosystem and wind up on South Beach.
Another perk is that there are usually cool ocean breezes wafting across the fields. But when the breeze is light, you might want to bring something to keep the bugs away - mosquitoes aren't really bad, but are out there none-the-less, lurking, tuned in to our respiration (and carbon dioxide). And if you're playing with your kids, you'll definitely be breathing hard, and giving those mosquitoes plenty of CO2 to hone in on.
The fields have a centrally located concession stand, a pavilion, and restrooms - and sometimes a working Coke machine (we've never had much luck finding it in working condition).
How many fields are contained within the complex? Well, that depends on how they lay it out. They have enough real estate for from 5 fields to up to 12 (for younger teams or 3 v 3 play).
Because the Bermuda grass fields were constructed with an innovative drainage system, they can be entirely flat.
Games, Tournaments and General Play
The Golden Isle Soccer Association hosts full-sided games and tourneys, as well as 3 v 3 contests and high school events. They've also played host to Region 3 Premier League competition, the North Florida Youth Soccer travel league, and even the High Tide Ultimate, a tournament of southern colleges playing Ultimate Disk (like Frisbee, just more intense).
The GISA, in concert with GYSA, has a mission to promote the growth of Georgia soccer and the long term development of youth soccer players.
They conduct a National Coaching School for regional candidates, and open tryouts for boys and girls at the end of the spring season. Tournaments run from fall through spring, with summers devoted to soccer camps.
For more information on GISA, the Jekyll Island Soccer Complex, teams or tournaments call Kevin Udell at (912)635-4157.
Why not make Georgia soccer part of your Jekyll Island Family Adventure? Take on the kids, and go down kicking!