MERRILL - Kindergarten-age soccer players took the field in Merrill to run around and learn the game.
They had more fans in the crowd than usual though, as Merrill's high school players showed up to lend their support.
The kids may not know all the rules, and they don't understand the concepts of spacing or attention span yet either.
"Some of them get distracted by puppies or butterflies or whatever's going past them," said Youth Coach Ben Wallace.
But what the kids at Merrill Soccer Association's summer games lack in experience, they make up for in joy.
"Really it's just a way for them to get out to enjoy the sport and have some fun," said Merrill Soccer Association President Kyle Hahn.
That love of the game is why new Merrill High School Boys' Soccer Coach Erich Wallace showed up to meet the kids.
"I think presence is a big part of being a coach and showing kids that you care about them," Erich said.
Erich wasn't the only one to show up. Players from Merrill's varsity team came to stand hand in glove with the kids. This season, the children will walk on to the field with the Bluejays.
"I think it's just a great opportunity for kids to develop a love for soccer if they can stand next to someone they look up to," Erich said.
It's a love they can nurture for their whole lives.
Our adult league that we have going on here, we've got people as old as 55, so it's just a sport that you can enjoy," Hahn said.
In the years to come, these kids will be taught how to dribble, pass, shoot and play as a team. For now, though, it's all about two things: making friends and having fun.
Summer soccer winds down next week, just as the high school team starts its season. The Bluejays play their first game against Lakeland Union on August 21.