Members of the Juneau Soccer Club’s 2013 Boys team, wearing white and red jerseys, compete in the Starfire Spring Classic soccer tournament in Seattle earlier this month. Five teams with the local club took part in the three-day competition from June 16-18. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Soccer Club)

Members of the Juneau Soccer Club’s 2013 Boys team, wearing white and red jerseys, compete in the Starfire Spring Classic soccer tournament in Seattle earlier this month. Five teams with the local club took part in the three-day competition from June 16-18. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Soccer Club)

Juneau Soccer Club takes a title at Seattle tournament

Five local youth teams compete for local club that has grown rapidly the past three years.

  • By Therese Pokorney
  • Monday, June 26, 2023 10:11pm
  • SportsSoccer

A Juneau co-ed soccer team took first place and four local teams showcased their talent during the Starfire Spring Classic soccer tournament in Seattle earlier this month.

The teams, affiliated with the Juneau Soccer Club (JSC), are part of a thriving soccer community that meet on the field at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park with a sense of a purpose that transcends competition.

The 2010 Co-ed team — the number signifying the year the players were born — secured first place in its division during the tournament that took place June 16 to 18. The 2013 Boys team claimed third place and the 2011 Boys team took second place in the silver bracket. The 2008/2009 Girls team and the 2009 Boys team did not advance beyond the bracket.

Andrew Erickson, 11, led the 2011 Boys team, contributing two goals.

“Riding in the team van and getting slurpees was the best part,” he said. “Assisting my teammates and scoring goals, too.”

Moctar Diouf (center), director of coaching for the Juneau Soccer Club, watches participants practice Monday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. (Therese Pokorney / Juneau Empire)

Moctar Diouf (center), director of coaching for the Juneau Soccer Club, watches participants practice Monday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. (Therese Pokorney / Juneau Empire)

Beyond the wins and losses, the driving force behind JSC is Director of Coaching Moctar Diouf. Originally from Senegal, West Africa, Moctar has played an integral role in the Juneau soccer community since his arrival in 2000.

A knee injury prevented Moctar from playing in a local league, leading him to begin coaching recreational teams in 2001 to remain close to the game. He switched to club soccer in 2003 when a parent pointed out that his competitive spirit was better suited for a club environment. After a brief period as a high school soccer coach, he devoted his energy to the JSC.

As the state director of referees in Alaska, Moctar has invested countless hours into building and nurturing the sport. Coaching is also how he met his wife, Stacy Diouf, who serves as the principal at Sayéik: Gastineau Community School and is the JSC Board president.

“This is my side hustle,” she said. “I never played, but it’s a love of my husband’s and of our boys.”

To ensure continued growth and development, Moctar and Stacy went beyond their regular routine and enlisted the expertise of Franklin Lawson, a highly regarded A-licensed coach from Anchorage, and his colleague Steve Day, to lead a soccer camp happening this week between Monday and Friday. While the club typically receives coaching support through its affiliation with the Alaska Rush Soccer Club, Moctar had to independently seek coaches this year.

Juneau Soccer Club participants practice in the rain Monday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. (Therese Pokorney / Juneau Empire)

Juneau Soccer Club participants practice in the rain Monday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. (Therese Pokorney / Juneau Empire)

Moctar’s commitment is evident in the JSC’s growth. In 2021, the club consisted of a single team. By 2022, it had expanded to two teams. This year, the club supports six teams.

Moctar’s presence fosters unity both within Juneau and beyond.

“We had five teams there and you couldn’t tell which parent was which when the games were going on,” he said. “Everybody just went and supported each other. That sense of community — you can’t take it for granted because that’s not something you find everywhere.”

Keegan Carroll, a JSC board member, agreed, adding a touching moment from the single championship win at the tournament.

“When our 2010 Boys won, everyone ran onto the field with them and celebrated,” she said. “I was crying and my kid isn’t even on the team.”

• Contact Therese Pokorney at therese.pokorney@juneauempire.com.

Maddie Dale (white jersey) dribbles the ball as a member of the Juneau Soccer Club’s 2010 Boys team, which included two girls, during a match in the Starfire Spring Classic soccer tournament in Seattle earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Soccer Club)

Maddie Dale (white jersey) dribbles the ball as a member of the Juneau Soccer Club’s 2010 Boys team, which included two girls, during a match in the Starfire Spring Classic soccer tournament in Seattle earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Soccer Club)

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