Tuesday, July 22, 2014

SOCCER players unite

April 09. 2013 3:56PM

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Soccer is an art form, explained Jesse Gemerson Novatski.

It is also unexpected and dramatic.

Novatski, a native of Brazil and a resident of Clarks Summit, is founder and organizer of Clarks Summit Pickup Soccer, CSPU, a group that offers soccer enthusiasts an opportunity to play soccer almost anytime, anywhere in the Clarks Summit area. Soccer fields and basketball courts are among sites where soccer can be played at the drop of a (soccer) ball.

“That’s the beautiful thing about pickup soccer,” he said. “It can and should be played anywhere at any time.”

His idea for the group started as a result of his love for the game of soccer…which he described as “the most popular game in the world.”

He said, “This is how it’s played in most of the world…They (people throughout the world) play on the street, on the gravel, even barefoot, and they don’t always have a soccer ball to play with.”

“…As you turn 18, or graduate from high school, you see a lot of us dropping out (of the game) or moving, and there really isn’t much opportunity as far as open or free play, or playing with the least expense. There are a lot of people who have said, ‘Why can’t we get people together to play?’ We have the numbers, interest and space. It’s a matter of everyone being on the same page and getting out and doing it. This is an exciting opportunity to bring people together in the community, and to even give back to the community.”

And his interests go beyond playing on soccer fields.

“I’m really interested in street soccer.” This involves fluid movement on the ball, feints, deception and extensive use of ground work, as well as goals, pannas and creative moves to beat your opponent, according to the International Street Soccer Association.

Locally, street soccer could be played on basketball courts, and South Abington Community Park is currently the “go to” place, but the sport is not limited to one particular venue.

“But one day it would be really exciting to say, ‘There’s a street soccer tournament going on in Philadelphia. Let’s get some players together and let’s go there…or there’s a beach soccer tournament going on in New Jersey or Ocean City, Maryland…”

Travel soccer opportunities will be considered amateur status and league free with only a nominal fee requested for travel expenses.

Novatski has set up a hub on Facebook, where anyone interested in pickup soccer in Clarks Summit can “post and play,” check out locations, days and times of upcoming happenings and post opportunities for players to meet and play. For more information, visit facebook.com/#!/cspusoccer?fref=ts.

“You can go anywhere in the world and say football and have a ball. It doesn’t matter what you believe, what language you speak…everyone can play.”

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