BOZEMAN — From Little League to the soccer field, youth sports are a cornerstone for thousands of children in Montana, but between the rising cost of playing sports coupled with inflation, kids across the country have been hanging up their cleats.
However, leave it up to 10-year-olds in Gallatin County that have made it their mission to help bridge the gap.
“We just started seeing more people who aren't playing, so we just wanted to help them," Montana Surf player Jack Wright explained.
Wright and his best friend Isabel Terrazas are both 10-years-old and play for Montana Surf, but while young, they noticed there was a need in their community.
“Jack and Isabel contacted me, which I was so happy about," Montana Soccer Soles founder Isabelle Melton said. "We’ve been working on getting that branch set up in Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley.”
First established in Helena seven years ago, Montana Soccer Soles collects gently-used soccer gear for kids in need.
Melton expanded the organization to Missoula in 2019 while attending the University of Montana, and with the help of Jack and Isabel, now has roots established in the Gallatin Valley.
“There are kids that maybe can’t afford the expensive cleats in stores, so people who donate give shoes and other stuff to kids who need it," Isabel Terrazas said.
“I think the fact that they’re so young and thinking about this is something I’m really inspired by," Melton beamed.
Since 2015, Montana Soccer Soles has donated 600 pairs of cleats to youth across the Treasure State, but Jack and Isabel say there are several items the community needs in Gallatin Valley: soccer cleats, soccer balls, shin guards, and goalie gloves - all either new or gently used.
Donation bins have been set up at two different locations in Gallatin Valley:
- Montana Surf (Blitzz FC) Indoor Facility
20900 Frontage Rd Building E, Belgrade MT 59714
- Montana Surf Office
502 S 19th, Suite 103 Bozeman, MT 59718
“I think the idea of players giving back to the community especially in the sport they love and helping others contribute the sport they love is something really important and something I was really excited to see - to pretty young kids already thinking about," Melton emphasized.
Montana Soccer Soles is looking to grow their reach across the Treasure State, so if you’re interested in starting a branch for a community in need more information can be found here.