Fort Bragg youth, Families and community leaders gathered to celebrate another season of youth sports on the installation, Saturday. Justin Mitchell, Fort Bragg Garrison deputy commander, thanked participating children for their service. In his remarks, he emphasized the importance of good character when playing youth sports.

“Sports doesn’t develop character, it shows the character you’ve already developed.”

Mitchell also highlighted dignity, honor, respect and loyalty as keys to succeeding in sports and life. After administering the Athlete’s Oath, Mitchell participated in the first baseball toss. Other Fort Bragg leaders led the first baton pass, softball throw, lacrosse toss and soccer kick.

Soccer is one of the most popular sports of the season, with participants as young as 4 years old eager to get on the field.

Cooper Pitkin, 6, is playing on a 6U soccer team. He said he was excited to get out and play the game.

Ashley Pitkin said she signed her son up for youth sports for one simple reason.

“We wanted to get him to socialize with friends,” she said.

Brittany Criss also said she signed her girls up for spring sports so they could be around other kids.

Hailey Criss, 7, and her sister Hannah, 5, are first-time soccer players this season. Hannah said she was “so excited” to play with her sister. Hailey looked forward to her first game, where she was playing goalie.

“I asked the coach if I could play goalie because I like to use my hands too when I play,” she said.

For more information on programs offered through Fort Bragg Youth Sports and Fitness, call 908-2619.