Benton rebounds after 1st loss
LITTLE ROCK – After suffering their first loss of the season in a dual match at Lakeside on Monday, the Benton Jr. Lady Panthers ninth grade team got back on the winning track Wednesday in Little Rock against Mount St. Mary’s.
The Jr. Lady Panthers swept MSM 25-19 and 25-22 to improve to 15-1-1 and still undefeated in Central Arkansas Junior High Conference play.
sification teams, which are known as classic teams.
“I started talking it over with Mike. Once they aged out at the Boys & Girls
Club, kids had nowhere to go. I was either going to have to put him (son) on a team in Little Rock and travel back and forth, or he was just going to have to stop playing soccer.
“So we started FC, not only for the kids to actually get a home game, but for them to really start learning the fundamentals and higher level instruction of soccer. We’re going on our third year and have quadrupled in size.”
Also serving on the Benton FC board is Mich Glass, the club director and men’s coach, Joylyn Hickey, club registrar and referee assignor, and head women’s Coach Dan Wilson.
The Club welcomes players 10 years old through 19 years old, and both the boys and girls teams take turns playing at a beloved Benton landmark - C.W. Lewis Stadium in Downtown Benton. C.W. Lewis was the home to the Benton Panthers football team from 1934-2011 before the Panthers moved to the Benton Athletic Complex.
And with the Benton FC playing at C.W. Lewis every Saturday, Benham, who has some history there, wants to keep the stadium relevant in Benton for years to come.
“Our efforts are to recapture and renovate C.W. Lewis Stadium,” he said, “which most of the people in this town care about. I called the last football game at C.W. Lewis.
“The thing about C.W. Lewis and why we’re so honored to be there, but why it’s so important for us to be there, is we play soccer nine months out of the year. Instead of that stadium just sitting down there dormant, nine months out of the year it’s being used and loved on and taken care of.”
And players from all over Saline County are involved with Benton FC.
“Our U19 boys team that’s so good has mostly Benton players, but we’ve got some Bryant players, Harmony Grove and Bauxite players all playing on that same team,” Benham said. “That’s what we aspired to when we first created. We wanted to be a place that in the fall, all of these local area kids come and have a really good club team. They all get their touches, they get to interact with each other, then in the spring they all go their separate ways and got play for their high schools.”
Though Benton FC teams are accustomed to winning with an 18-10-4 overall record, it’s not all about the winning, rather the development and fundamentals of recreational soccer.
“Let’s learn the game of soccer, and in the process doing that, let’s have fun,” Benham said. “We make them work and make them focus on footwork, passing, what type of a pass, so we teach them all that kind of stuff. By the time they’re a ninth-grader, if they have any skill at all, they’ve got a shot at making the high school team.”
The fall season continues today at C.W. Lewis Stadium with the U11 boys kicking off at 10:30 a.m., followed by the U14 Maroon at noon. U14 Gray hosts Searcy at 1:45 p.m., 03 Maroon kicks off at 5:15 and 01 Gray caps the night with a 7 p.m. kickoff. Admission is free.
“Every Saturday, we have great soccer at C.W. Lewis Stadium in the spring and the fall,” Benham said. “Not only are we competing, but we’re winning.”
For more information about the Benton Futbol Club, contact Mich Glass at 501-326-0665 or email at [email protected]hoo.com.
The Benton Futbol Club’s Gray team poses after defeating Maumelle in a match earlier this yeear.