Youth soccer registration coming up
Although the snow currently covering the St. Francis pitches likely will be around for a while yet, those involved in Fort Frances Youth Soccer already are looking forward to getting the new season underway.
The official kick-off will take place next Tuesday and Wednesday (March 19-20), when registration will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the Memorial Sports Centre.
“We are expecting to see an increase in registrations this year, especially since there are no extra-curricular sports taking place at the public school level,” FFYS secretary Catherine McGuire noted.
“We’re thinking that because of that situation, and the affordability of playing soccer for the two months that the league goes for, that we are going to see our numbers going up,” she added.
But that potential increase in players throughout the six divisions means the FFYS also is on the lookout for more volunteers to get involved, especially in the coaching ranks.
“We really aren’t going to know the exact number of coaches that we will need until we see the final numbers at sign-up, but we are probably going to end up needing a few more coaches,” McGuire said.
“So far, we have three coaches confirmed for Squirts [under age five], two for Division 1 [under age seven], one for Division IV [under age 13], and four for Division V [under age 16],” she noted.
“So we still need more coaches for the other divisions [II and III] as without them, we won’t be able to field teams,” she stressed.
McGuire said the FFYS provides packages with all of the information, drills, and hints a new coach will need, and there always is someone at the field to help them out if need be.
“Plus, if someone has shift work and can’t make it out to the field all of the time, we can have them paired up with someone else,” she reasoned.
Volunteers also are required when it comes to youth officials. Refs over the age of 12 are needed on the small fields to officiate games in Divisions I, II, and III.
“They can come to the registration night and talk to James [Dobie] and Victor [Souza] there to get organized for that,” McGuire explained.
“They can use that experience towards their getting their volunteer hours [to graduate high school], or they can get an set wage for it,” she added.
Prior to the season, there will be an opportunity for referees over the age of 14 to be certified to officiate on the big fields.
An Ontario Soccer Association-led clinic is slated for April 13-14 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Fort High.
“We were waiting for confirmation from the OSA to have it officially set in stone, but everything is now set in place,” McGuire said.
“There are limited spaces, though, for that clinic, so we are advising everyone who is interested to contact Dave Berry and Trevor Hands as soon as possible,” she stressed.
One thing that isn’t a pressing need for the 2013 season, however, is with the board as four new members have joined the ranks.
“That is something that we are really happy to see,” McGuire enthused.
“All of the new board members don’t have any children that are in youth soccer, but they are involved in the local soccer community and they all want to see the game continue to grow here,” she remarked.
One of the new things for this season is the fact four-year-olds now will be allowed to play in the Squirts division, which takes to the field every Tuesday and Thursday.
“Every other community in Northwestern Ontario was doing it and we decided to get on board,” McGuire said.
“Those kids are already in school, they know a little bit about the game, and they have already seen their older siblings play,” she reasoned.
Another major difference involves the overall online presence of the FFYS.
Registration forms can be printed off the league’s official website prior to next Tuesday or Wednesday night, and there is now an official Facebook page that will be used throughout the season.
“We feel that being on Facebook is going to be very helpful for us,” McGuire said.
“If a storm blows in all of a sudden and we need to cancel the games, the [FFYS] administration can post that information right on the page.
“It’ll be really handy and especially for those parents that are not in town, or those parents that it might be hard of to get a hold of on the phone,” she added.