In a time when young athletes have been stuck inside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, local soccer club Northwest United is offering a way for them to get on the pitch: a series of free soccer clinics starting later this month.

The sessions will offer coaching, drills and competition for athletes ages 8 to 13 at Skagit River Park in Burlington. Sessions will be held at 5:30 p.m. on April 23, April 30 and May 7 — all Fridays — as well as a Sunday session at 5:30 p.m. May 16.

Each session is expected to last about 1 hour, 20 minutes.

Program Director Kristian Powell said about 40 have signed up online for the first session. He said about 150 can take part in each session.

The sessions are expected to include coaching on fundamentals, as well as drills focused on speed and soccer-specific skills such as passing and turning.

"There'll be a little bit of fitness, speed and agility, (drills such as) ladders and hurdles. We'll give them a ball each to learn passing and turning. Hopefully we can do a little finishing. In the last half hour we'll let them play and we'll coach them a little bit," Powell said.

He said local high school coaches are expected to help with the free clinics — a program Northwest United hopes to offer again in the future.

"Hopefully it's something for the long run. I'm excited to be able to do this and hopefully it'll provide opportunities for kids," Powell said. "A lot of kids are battling mental health issues or are stuck at home ... We're trying to give them opportunities like everyone else."

More information is available on Northwest United's website at nwunited.org or on its Facebook page. Those interested can also call Powell at 360-630-8557.

— Reporter Trevor Pyle: 360-416-2156, tpyle@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @goskagit, Facebook.com/bytrevorpyle

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