Stillman College president Dr. Cynthia Warrick is a firm believer in community.

She was instrumental in lighting up the school’s tennis courts and inviting locals to come on the Stillman campus to play tennis. It’s not only been a fun activity for the visitors, but it’s also been a way to show off the campus. It’s also brought tennis to the West End.

So it’s not surprising she’s a key figure behind the latest sports move — bringing soccer to the West End in the hopes that more kids will be exposed to that sport.

On Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon, Stillman’s football stadium will host a soccer extravaganza of sorts. It’s designed for kids, boys and girls, ages 8-12. Local youth soccer players will put on 3-on-3 exhibition matches, lasting about 24 minutes each. There will be inflatables to play on and food. Attendance is free.

“My major goal for Stillman College is to get Stillman into the community and the community to Stillman,” Dr. Warrick said in an email. “We have partnered with Tuscaloosa Tennis Association to host Monday night tennis on our eight lighted tennis courts. We’ve also hosted a Central High School football game in our stadium. We are excited about hosting Tuscaloosa United’s Soccer Program. We want the youth in Tuscaloosa to enjoy our fine and convenient athletic facilities. We invite community organizations to contact us to facilitate the use of all of our Athletics and Academic facilities on our beautiful and historic campus.”

Leading the event is Tuscaloosa United Soccer Club Director of Coaching, Michael Bissell. Tuscaloosa United is under the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority.

“The idea is that we are bringing kids who are a part of our academy program — the younger kids who are wanting to be competitive players as they grow up — and our youngest competitive players as well. And our recreational players are joining us, too,” Bissell said. “The idea is not so much a clinic as much as we’re going to have some 3-vs.-3 soccer games which are small-sided. It lets the kids play a lot and stay super-active and try to introduce that side of our community to soccer.”

There may be as many as five games going on simultaneously.

Bissell said there were 470 kids playing recreational soccer in the city this past season, 100 more playing elite soccer and some 55 in the academy program.

He said the idea came from Dr. Warrick, and it was something he readily approved and wanted to help make happen.

“We sat down with Stillman’s athletic director (Ken Alston), and talked about some hopes and dreams for the future, having kids from that side of town playing soccer — where, currently, we don’t have any players coming from that side of town. We thought, ‘well, let’s just bring some of our players to Stillman College and expose that side of the community to soccer because it hasn’t really been played on that side of town,” Bissell said.

“I was 100 percent all for it. I love the fact that it does extend soccer into a part of our city that doesn’t have any soccer players currently,” said Bissell. “But, more importantly, we lose sight of where soccer is played around the world, and it’s usually on the streets, or on playgrounds and in parks—and without referees, without screaming parents and things like that. We wanted a sort of grassroots approach to get it started, and we were looking for opportunities like this.”