For 40 years, Edina has been home to some of the most athletic kids in the country. The Edina Soccer Association, the force behind more than 1,400 kids getting outside in the summer, is a bit of a local treasure. It’s the largest youth sport association in Minnesota, and is a model for associations all over the United States. For many kids, soccer in Edina may be their only opportunity to play a sport—there are no tryouts, and plenty of scholarships.
“It adds a sense of community,” says Ben Bercaw, former president of the Edina Soccer Association. “A lot of kids can request to play with other kids from their school. Personally, I was able to meet parents of my children’s friends. They’d come home from school, and I’d be better able to understand who they were talking about.” It’s that enhanced sense of community that drives the 500 volunteers serving as coaches and event planners, and on the board of directors. And with the program growing to include three seasons, the community is getting even bigger.