Learning to play the game of soccer well takes years of practice, so the Dakota United program gets players started early.
In order to learn the game, you need to have great coaches. That's why players from the University of Mary take the time throughout the summer to help kids in Bismarck/Mandan learn the beautiful game.
"The young kids really look up to them in the community," said U-Mary women's soccer graduate assistant coach Joe Cleary. "So, it's cool for them to see them play on the field in the fall and then to get coached by them in the summer."
Members of the men's and women's teams help out with the younger age groups, teaching kids the fundamentals they need for the future.
"They know more about soccer, like a lot of it, so they can teach us more when we go," said Madison Uecker, a Dakota United player.
The Dakota United players also get the unique opportunity to learn from international players, which helps them broaden their understanding of the game.
"That they're from different countries, all of them have a different way, all of them know different stuff so I like [learning from] different cultures," said Bennett Diallesandro, another Dakota United player.
The U-Mary players know their different coaching styles can help make these kids better soccer players down the road.
"I think the kids get a lot out of it, especially when it's college players who've played the game and it's not just some parent maybe who has got an interest in soccer and has read a few books," said Aaron Brennan, a U-Mary men's soccer player from Ireland. "So I think to get a hands-on experience really where they're getting someone who has played in college, played in a different country and obviously knows a lot about the game."
The Marauders will continue to coach these future soccer stars throughout the summer. For more information on Dakota United, visit www.dakotaunitedsoccer.com.