In most cases, the last thing that the staff at the Marlboro County Recreation Department wants is a bunch of last minute registrations for one of their sports programs.
However, with sign-ups way off, that is just what they are hoping. Registration for fall sports - soccer, football and cheerleading - is scheduled to end Monday at 5 p.m.
"We don't have an explanation for it, but, as of the moment, we don't have enough kids signed up in any of the age groups to put together a team," said Greg Leviner, athletic director for the recreation department.
"In the spring, we had great participation, with right at 50 teams playing T-ball, baseball and softball. So this has us somewhat baffled," said Leviner.
The registration time frame of July through early August is what the department has used for numerous years for the fall sports. Although kids are out of school, this hasn't presented much of an issue previously.
Completing sign-ups by early August allows the department to organize the teams, finalize the coaches, then start practice late in the month. Play in both soccer and football begins in September.
Leviner said that, surprisingly, the instructional level of soccer has very few kids signed up. In past years, the department has fielded six teams or more in this age bracket.
"Soccer is such a great sport for young kids to get involved in. It is terrific exercise and a player's size isn't really important," said Leviner.
With the interest in the World Cup this summer, Leviner expected higher interest in recreation soccer this fall. That hasn't been the case, at least so far.
The lower-than-usual registration numbers are countywide Leviner said.
"None of the communities have had many kids get signed up yet. Hopefully that will change in these last few days," he said.
While not the preference, the department may be forced to extend the registration deadlines to get enough players to field teams.
Soccer signups are for boys and girls ages 4 thru 12 and football for boys ages 5 thru 12. You cannot turn 13 before September 1st and participate.
The department is also attempting to organize soccer teams for ages 13 through 17 years old at the request of the MCHS coaches.
To sign up, print a registration form from the recreation department's website and bring along with the fee to the department's office on Marlboro Street. A birth certificate will be required if one is not already on file. Additional information concerning fees and the registration form is posted on the web www.marlborocounty.sc.gov.
Referees and coaches are also needed.
For additional information call 479-5632 or your community recreation department leaders. In Blenheim: Danny Driggers at 544-7886; Clio: Tim McCoy at 862-5866; McColl: Kay Redbrook at 862-7389; and Wallace: Michael Coachman at 544-3472.