Town recreation coordinator Trevor LaHaye is gearing up for a new year filled with activities that include Junior NBA basketball, youth spring soccer and a men’s basketball league.
Of those, youth soccer is the most popular, sometimes drawing as many as 500 participants ranging in age and grade level from pre-kindergarten to seniors in high school.
“It’s by far our biggest program,” LaHaye said.
Registration for the league begins Feb. 1 and continues until March 18. Play will be April 4 to May 14 on the Rumsey Park multipurpose fields.
The fee to participate is $25.
For the league, youngsters will be grouped into one of six school grade level divisions — pre-kindergarten to kindergarten, 1st-2nd, 3rd-4th, 5th-6th, 7th-8th and 9th-12th.
The Jr. NBA offering will include boys and girls in 3rd and 4th grades.
Registration began Dec. 12 and will wrap up Jan. 21. League play tips off Jan. 29 and continues until March 12. All games will be played in Rim Country Middle School gymnasium.
Registration is $30 per child.
LaHaye hopes to play most games on Saturdays, but says a few games might have to be played on Friday evenings.
“I’m hoping for five boys’ and five girls’ teams, but we’ll have to wait and see,” LaHaye said.
In addition to registering youth for hoop play, LaHaye is prowling the town in search of volunteer coaches.
Those who agree to take on the task will have the registration fee for their child waived, LaHaye said.
The adult basketball league, which has been a staple on the town sports calendar for at least four decades when Dennis Hanson, Tom Meck and Tim Fruth ran the program, tipped off registration on Dec. 27 and will end on Jan. 28.
League play will be Feb. 7 to March 17 in old Payson High School gymnasium.
The entry fee is $250 and participants must be 18-years and older.
The registration fee includes a guarantee of 10 games and a season-ending double elimination tournament.
LaHaye’s goal, if enough teams register, is to host three leagues — competitive, recreational and over-40 years of age.
“That would be ideal,” he said.
All games will be played weekday evenings.
While LaHaye’s attention is focused on the three upcoming sports offerings, he continues to pay heed to his objective of building a core of officials and referees in all sports.
“That’s the way I worked my way through college,” he said. “Officiating is a good way to make some extra money and we’d like to have all our officials be local.”
To be eligible to officiate in town leagues, candidates must attend clinics in their sports that the town will offer free of charge.
The first, a basketball clinic, was held Dec. 8.
The dates of clinics in other sports will be determined soon.
“It is my hope that I can bring a new core of officiating here in Payson that is top of the line, certified and experienced for all our athletes,” he said.
“With the tournaments I have coming here next year, I would really like to stay local with the officiating.”
Among those tournaments will be the ASA Girls’ Arizona State “B” Fast Pitch tournament in July 2011.
“Officials will make anywhere from $30 to $35 per game,” said LaHaye. “I really hope people take advantage of this as refereeing can be a great way to make extra money, enhance the community through interaction in athletics and give back to the kids who are the future.”
For more information on officiating clinics or sports programs, call LaHaye at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.