A mutual agreement between the Cape Area Youth Soccer Association and the city of Cape Girardeau has led to a changing of the guard for youth soccer in the community.
CAYSA has been in charge of youth soccer leagues and recreation tournaments in Cape Girardeau for the past 32 years.
That changed July 1 when the Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Department assumed management of all youth soccer leagues and recreation tournaments beginning with the 2012 fall season.
Both parties believe the new arrangement will be beneficial for everybody.
"They have professionals to run the league. They're excellent people and I think it's going to be a seamless transition," said Ryan Davis, who has been the CAYSA president for the past several years.
Davis said a decline in the number of volunteers needed to run CAYSA led to discussions with the city of Cape Girardeau about possibly taking over management of youth soccer.
"It's a changing attitude. People aren't involved as much as they used to be. There's not as many people wanting to take on the responsibilities," Davis said. "I think we've been talking about it for several years."
Julia Thompson, Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Department director, said the city is more than happy to take over management of youth soccer in the community.
"CAYSA actually came to us, asked us to consider taking over the league," Thompson said. "This allows the parents to be more focused on coaching rather than running the organization.
"We had a meeting with their board. ... It's an all-volunteer board. ... They were pretty excited about the city taking on these responsibilities."
Thompson said the city already runs various leagues so adding soccer to the department's responsibilities should cause no problems.
"We run our leagues anyway. We have more time to devote to the league. They are parents volunteering their time. We do this on a regular basis," Thompson said. "We took a look at their budget and everything made financial sense for the city."
Thompson said her department hopes to grow youth soccer in Cape Girardeau even more.
"They have done a great job with their league. There are over 800 kids involved," Thompson said. "It's a little bit more work for us but it's something we're glad to do. We're hoping to grow the league even better."
While Thompson agrees with Davis that the transition should be seamless, she said she hopes parents see a difference.
"We're hoping what they see is better. We have more time to devote to the league," she said.
Registrations for the fall season are currently underway. Registration forms are available at the Arena Building, the Osage Centre and the Shawnee Park Center.
For more information, call 339-6340.