Putnam Impact continues to grow
By Brandon Bush, The Eatonton Messeger
For young Putnam County athletes, soccer is still going strong.
The Putnam Impact Soccer Club has made several moves to help expand the program. From creating new teams to holding camps as well as forging new relationships with other programs, Putnam Impact has worked to continue its goal of establishing a soccer community within Putnam County.
“It’s really exciting to see what’s going on with soccer lately,” said Tim Gilbert, Putnam Impact co-founder, director of coaching and coach of the Impact 04 and 05 teams. “The kids are performing at a high level. They’re playing much better clubs and getting invited to bigger tournaments. It’s a really good time for soccer around here lately.”
Established during the summer of 2015, Putnam Impact is a nonprofit soccer club that focuses on children ages 8-16 with the goal of providing players with a positive environment to learn about and play soccer as well as develop leadership skills and prepare for a successful future. Compared to most soccer clubs, Impact has very minimal cost, which makes the club affordable, and the club also polices its players academically and requires all participants to maintain an A/B average in school and read one level higher than their current grade.
Putnam Impact is working on a new all-girls team and has verbal commitments from several potential participants and a willing potential coach but, for now, the biggest focus for Impact is signing up players for soccer camp.
One of the biggest events for Putnam Impact, its upcoming soccer camp, which will run June 18-21, will be the only soccer camp taking place in the area that week, according to Gilbert. The camp will be a special event as members of Georgia Revolution FC, one of the two soccer clubs in Georgia that compete in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), will be in attendance to assist participants during the camp.
Putnam Impact is in the process of becoming an affiliate of Georgia Revolution, which is currently competing in the Southeast Conference of the NPSL along with in-state rival Atlanta Silverbacks FC. Sending players to help at the soccer camp is the first step of Impact’s relationship with Georgia Revolution, and the professional soccer club is also working on a deal for Impact players to attend Georgia Revolution games for as little as $1.
According to Gilbert, as of Monday, the IRS has approved the organization’s name being officially changed to “Putnam Impact Soccer Club,” meaning the club has been officially recognized by the U.S. government. This opens the door for Putnam Impact to apply for grants that were previously out of reach for the club, giving it a huge financial boon that will continue to help fund its efforts.
Putnam Impact held “recognition ceremony,” or banquet, this past Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Jimmy Davis Park. Unlike most sports banquets, Impact made an effort to encourage and support every single player and made sure something positive was said for each individual in order to give them a boost in confidence.
“Every child is going to hear their coach say something nice about them in front of their parents and their peers,” Gilbert said earlier this week prior to the banquet. “It’s just a 30-second blip so that kid gets to feel some pride. It’s not just their name being called and getting handed something, but it’s somebody they feel is important praising them and it does a lot for a player. I’m not just going to give it to them, they still have to earn it, but they’re going to get recognized for something positive no matter what.”
There are several teams available for the youth of Putnam County and the surrounding areas, so any interested participants can visit the club’s website, http://putnamimpactsc.com/index.html, or contact Gilbert at firstname.lastname@example.org.