BY GREG SIERING
On Saturday mornings, Karst Farm Park is home to Cutters Soccer Club, a Bloomington organization dedicated to youth soccer. Looking around, what most people see are kids running up and down soccer fields. What Cutters Executive Director Michael Nosofsky would like them to see, however, is not a youth soccer program so much as a youth development program that uses soccer as its vehicle.
“We teach kids how to be accountable, to show responsibility,” says Nosofsky, 33, pointing out that helping kids grow up to be healthy, conscientious community members is as important as teaching them how to dribble or shoot the ball.
Nosofsky, who graduated from Bloomington High School North, has coached for the Cutters since 2003. He also played on Cutters teams from the age of 10.
Cutters Community Soccer offers recreational soccer to approximately 650 children ages 5 to 18 each year. Coaches emphasize building skills and teamwork, and encourage players to exercise and have fun. Players are divided into teams at the beginning of each season, and everyone is welcome, no matter their level of skill or experience.
Jr. Cutters teams act as a transition for younger players who want to improve their skills and explore competitive soccer. By age 10, players can try out to join travel teams that play against competitors in about a 60-mile radius. Approximately 350–400 local children participate in the Cutters travel programs each year.
For Nosofsky, some of the most important programs are the outreach efforts. The Cutters Community Outreach Program brings soccer to youth organizations that provide after-school and summer-care programs to area children. The TOPSoccer program offers the experience to children and adults with special needs by partnering with the Down Syndrome Family Connection and Special Olympics Indiana Monroe County.
What it comes down to, Nosofsky says, is that Cutters offers a variety of programs and scholarships that allow everyone the chance to play no matter their age, skill level, or financial means. “We try to make Cutters as inclusive an organization as possible,” he says.
For more information, visit cutterssoccer.org.