The Shawnee Soccer Association has announced that they will be joining the Oklahoma Celtic to for the Oklahoma Celtic East soccer program.

“The Shawnee Soccer Association is pleased to be entering an agreement with the Oklahoma Celtic to run our Academy and Competitive programs in Shawnee under the name Oklahoma Celtic East,” SSA President Mindy Young said in a press release.

The Celtic East will give Shawnee soccer players a new competitive option outside of recreational leagues.

Oklahoma Celtic Executive Director Don Rother is excited for the quality of athletes from Shawnee that the crossover could bring in.

“We believe this is a great community with many talented players and we can build a full service competitive program for players in this area,” he said in the press release.

Oklahoma Celtic has been in Norman for 42 years and works with soccer players at all levels to develop their game.

Oklahoma Baptist University Assistant Women's Soccer Coach Jeremy Hymel has been named the Celtic East Director of Coaching.

Hymel started getting involved when he was doing community outreach for Shawnee in the spring as part of his master's degree in Sports Administration at East Central. He didn't expect it to turn into a partnership between SSA and Oklahoma Celtic.

“I didn't think I'd be applying my master's so quickly,” he said.

One thing that helped foster the agreement between the two associations was the interest and talent generated at soccer clinics that have been hosted in Shawnee.

The new club will act independent of the Shawnee Soccer Association and serve as a competitive outlet for those interested. The SSA will operate as a seperate entity and will still provide recreational soccer in the community.

Hymel hopes that the team will help change the soccer culture in Shawnee and garner as much support as some of the more popular sports in the area.

“I think Shawnee has a great sports culter, but there's not much of a soccer culture,” he said.

The Celtic East will be hosting a training session and tryouts Tuesday, May 29, at the Shawnee Soccer Complex from 6 p.m. until 7:30. The session will be available to boys and girls from ages 10-18 and will follow with a town hall at St. Paul's Church at 8 p.m.

Tryouts will also take place June 4, at the Shawnee Soccer Complex.

Hymel is excited to see what happens with the program next.

“I'm anxious to see where it goes from here,” he said.

For more information, visit www.normansoccer.org/page/show/4192873-celtic-east or email Hymel at jhymel9@yahoo.com.