Sturgis Soccer Association is strictly a volunteer non-profit organization whose purpose is to serve our children and community. Our mission is to provide a safe, healthy and competitive alternative to the youth of our community from age four through age eighteen.
Summer 1978. Gregg Owens returned from a vacation in Texas where he first saw the sport played. By word-of-mouth, any child wanting to play met at the football field with a light and dark shirt and teams were formed. Gregg coached the Sturgis team and invited a “team” formed by the same method from Spearfish.
1979. An organizational meeting was held in April and officers were elected. Registration forms were drafted and distributed in the schools. Leagues formed in Lead-Deadwood, Belle Fourche and Spearfish. Sturgis fielded nine teams comprised of 135 players ranging from 6-13 in the spring season. A junior soccer field and one regulation field were set up at the Fairgrounds. Proceeds from registration purchased goals and a few soccer balls for the coaches. A meeting was set up to schedule matches between teams from the other Northern Hills towns. In the fall, the Northern Hills League was formed and officers were elected to guide and standardize the games. The Sturgis league grew to 165 players forming nine teams and the League was incorporated. The first annual fundraiser was conducted. Players sold raffle tickets for a $100 gift certificate donated by Wayne Baker from Sooper Dooper.
1980. The teams solicited sponsors, and with the proceeds from the raffle, the League was able to purchase uniforms for the players. With the growth in the number of teams, additional playing fields were set up on the football field for the Spring season only and on Second Street. Players again sold raffle tickets on items donated by businesses to allow us to purchase additional uniforms and supplies.
1981. Teams from the other towns in the Northern Hills League complained about the fields at the Fairground as there was glass on the ground and inadequate grass. Art Daknis worked with the Director’s Office at the Department of Veteran Affairs to secure permission to set up two fields on the Ft. Meade complex. Newell joined the Northern Hills League with teams in all age divisions. Doug Trirary, whose credentials included a Class C National Coaching Certificate and experience as an international player, was brought in from Omaha to conduct a Class F Coaching Clinic.
1982. Piedmont entered teams in the Sturgis Soccer League. Early in the season, Art Daknis conducted coaching clinics for the new coaches and assisted in setting up playing fields in Piedmont. Several members from the League attended a referee school in Rapid City to obtain certification. With very few teams in the older age divisions within the Northern Hills League, Art worked very hard lining up games for the U16 and the U19 teams. Extra effort and coordination was required in phone calls, traveling and arrangements for transportation for games to be played in Rapid City, Ellsworth and Gillette. The Sturgis Soccer League held its first annual potluck picnic at the end of the spring season. Art and his U19 team started the tradition of a skills contest. Stations were set up in the part so all players could participate in a contest of skills in juggling, speed dribbling, shots on goal and speed shots with prizes awarded by age division. The U19 team placed second of eleven teams competing for the state soccer playoffs in June of 1982. To expand the soccer experience and exposure, Art entered his U12 team in the Third Annual Noon Optimist Tournament in Rapid City in June. The spring season ended with a friendly game between the U19 team and a team comprised of coaches, parents and other interested people.
1983. Registration continued to show more numbers. The schedule for the U19 team continued to be arranged by the coach with Rapid City, Gillette and Spearfish and was again entered in the State Soccer Tournament in Rapid City. The U14 team was entered in the Noon Optimist Tournament. The spring season ended with the annual league picnic with the skills contest. Art Daknis conducted coaching and refereeing clinics before both seasons and scheduled referees for all League games. After the fall season, Art secured an agreement with Fort Meade to use the gymnasium to play soccer indoors during the winter on Monday evenings for coaches, U19 players and interested persons.
1984. The Sturgis Soccer League entered a team in the first indoor soccer tournament in this area held in Rapid City for the U10 division. The team tied for first place. After playing soccer during the winter, a group of coaches and U19 players were entered in the Spearfish BHSC Indoor Invitation in March. The Sturgis Coaches finished third and the U19 team finished fifth. Coaching and referee training clinics were set up prior to the season’s start. The Black Hills Press and Sturgis Tribune allowed us to submit photos and articles for the papers. The U14 team traveled to an invitational tournament in Gordon, Nebraska to play four exhibition games. During the fall season, the U19 team printed T-shirts with Tom Monahan to see as a fundraiser. The U19 team also earned money cleaning the Rec Hall after the annual community Halloween party to help defray travel costs the team incurred.
1985. In February the U10 team tied for the title in the Rapid City Indoor Soccer tournament. A Northern Hills Referee Certification Clinic was hosted in March. Dennis Mosher, US Olympic goalkeeper in the 1964 summer games in Tokyo and then referee administrator for North & South Dakota, led the certification seminar. The State Soccer Tournament was held in Sioux Falls with several teams from our league competing; U19 finished second. During the summer, Art Daknis taught a Soccer Clinic sponsored by the Community Education Center
1986. In February, Sturgis hosted a mini-soccer tournament for the U10 division played in the Grunwald Auditorium and Williams Gymnasium. The Board Members devoted efforts to gaining support for a proposal to the Sturgis Park & Recreation Board to use a large portion of the Hills & Plains Park as a soccer complex. As part of the “Put the Kids in the Park” campaign, league members wrote letters and attended Park Board meetings. The soccer league gained permission to set up two U8 fields east of the Woodle Football field. In May of 1986, the City Council approved the proposal that the Sturgis Soccer League match $10,000 with the City for the development of the complex. The League negotiated to use a field located next to the High School. In December, the City of Sturgis cleared 28 trees from the Hills & Plains Park and the casing for the water main for the underground sprinkler system was set.
1987. Art Daknis organized a “carnival” composed of games to appeal to the entire family held in February of 1987 at the Sturgis City Auditorium. Proceeds from the 18-20 game-type booths manned by members of his soccer teams went to the “Put the Kids in the Park” campaign. The U19 team entered the KFYR Radio Soccer Classic in Bismarck, ND. Danny Short donated the use of his heavy equipment for the leveling of the land and Dan & Deb Hefner donated topsoil for the field. The League continued fund raising projects and organized work teams to rake topsoil, pick up rocks, and manually worked to prepare the fields for grass seed.
1988. The second Sturgis Soccer Shootout U10 mini-ball tournament was hosted. Through the sales at the concession stand during the tournament, the U19 team raised money for the fence around the soccer complex. The U19 participated again in the indoor soccer tournament in spearfish in March and entered the State Soccer Tournament in Rapid City in June of that year. The fall season began with some games being played on the new complex. A U16 girl’s team was formed.
1989. Games during the fall and spring seasons were played on the new complex. The U19 team traveled to Denver over Memorial Day weekend to participate in the Ft. Logan-Riverside Invitational Tournament (FRIT). The U19 boys and the U16 girls both won gold medals in the Centennial Games June 16-17 in Sioux Falls.
1990. Lead/Deadwood hosted South Dakota’s first winter amateur sports festival, the Dakota Winter Games in February. The U19 boys garnered a silver medal and the U16 girls received a gold medal. An Over 19 open division also entered into competition. Several coaches completed the “D” Coaching License clinic sponsored by the South Dakota State Soccer Assn.
2014. First year soccer became a school sport for high school.