Big Sky Futbol Club minis learn soccer basics from Renee Zimmerman. Photo by Jana Bounds

Big Sky’s fields of dreams

Years of building and soccer is firmly entrenched in Big Sky life

Last week every field at Big Sky Community Park was simultaneously met with soccer cleats. Some of those cleats were tiny and some of the players were little human tornadoes. Big Sky Futbol Club’s second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders played on the fields to the west. Big Sky School District (BSSD) soccer players played on the eastern most field. The newly minted Class A men’s team raced and faced their opponents, the Billings Central Rams sporting their jerseys. As the younger kids finished playing, they ventured with their parents to the eastern field to show support for their older cohorts. Excitement grew. Many of the kids were looking at their futures. They were also observing something that took a dozen years and dozens of volunteers to build.

The major effort for a high school team has really been going for about the last three years with the help of Tony Coppola and Kim Dickerson, BSSD men’s soccer assistant coach Jeremy Harder explained.

The Big Sky Futbol League started with one team and that was coed high school aged kids. Then in the Spring of 2019, programs were opened up for all school aged kids – kindergarten through 12th grade, former Programs Director of Big Sky Futbol Club Kim Dickerson said. She explained that with the club moving in the right direction, she decided to take a step back – and is passing the reins over to Spencer Crider.

All of this major progress is built upon years of effort, locals investing time and money and then passing the reins.

Before the Big Sky league, kids were practicing in Big Sky and playing in Bozeman, a grueling trek for working families.

Before that, there was a struggle to even find a league for Big Sky soccer players.

Twelve years ago, Jaci Clack started the first traveling team for the community – it had just been a recreational league before that. Now, Clack functions as the Big Sky School District women’s soccer coach. The entire effort, from day one, has been about the community working together to make sure Big Sky kids could play.

“This community has been on this journey with us the whole way. We’ve had the rotary club and private community members sponsor the teams, tuition or uniforms,” she said. “ There were times where we were taking risks and even the parents didn’t want to bet on us. At one point, I got these kids to high school, and there was nothing (no easily found league for them), we played in a Christian soccer league for four years and then we got this going. This goes back years and years.”

It has been a continuous effort, with numerous community members building on what was established before.

“Our coaches are amazing. We have a ton of non parent coaches which is awesome – that’s like an extension of our community.

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