Annual soccer meeting goes tonight

Why don’t we join together and attempt to make a perfectly-balanced soccer martini?
That’s what the Borderland Soccer Association is pretty much asking after its executive meeting last Wednesday night at Fort High.
Association president Shane Beckett suggested creating one body that would act as umbrella body for the local youth, high school, and senior leagues.
Beckett believes combining the three divisions would be advantageous to all involved.
“I think that if we have one body, then we can all move in the same direction,” he noted after last week’s hour-long executive meeting.
“I think all of the subsidiaries of soccer—high school, youth league, and senior league—all have ideas on how to make soccer better in town, but we don’t get together to do that,” he noted.
“If we had one forum, then we would work together to get everything done,” Beckett added, who also noted the change would cut down on costs to Soccer Ontario when registering.
With the association’s annual general meeting slated for tonight (Wednesday) at 7 p.m. in Room 138 at Fort High, a number of issues were raised at last week’s meeting, attended by seven members of the executive.
The one that received the most debate was the possible refereeing changes which could be implemented for this season.
The topic has been meticulously under review since Beckett and a few others from the local executive went to the annual general meeting for Soccer Northwest back in January.
That’s where they learned the harsh consequences that could face an association if its referees aren’t properly registered with Soccer Ontario or haven’t paid their dues.
“You always think, ‘It’s not going to happen to us,’ and then all of a sudden it does happen to you and if you haven’t covered your butt, then you’re not going to be in big trouble,” Beckett warned.
“There’s no way that minor hockey would allow someone who isn’t qualified, and someone who hasn’t paid their dues, to referee games,” he added. “So I think to save us a lot of headaches, that is something that we really need to look into.”
To give local referees an incentive to pay their dues, the association is looking at boosting their pay to $50/game, but then using extra players from the competing teams as linesmen for no pay.
Some of the concerns that can result from a referee not being registered with Soccer Ontario involve liability, in that if a players gets injured while playing, then the association would get entangled in workers’ compensation issues.
The executive also hopes to form a committee, which will consist of players and members of the executive, to try and recruit players from outside Fort Frances (i.e., La Vallee, Emo, and International Falls).
“We’re definitely hoping to set a committee to look at the problem and figure out ways to solve it,” said Beckett.
Another issue the association will be looking at tonight during its general meeting will be the recruitment of new players, and those switching teams, to avoid the “stacking” of teams with the best players.
“As far as teams trying to stack their teams, I’m hoping that isn’t the case,” said Beckett.
“We want the league to be fun,” he stressed. “I hope people in the league know what’s best in the league and that equal calibre teams make for a better summer.”
Other areas that will be brought forward tonight include:
•review and recap of female players in the men’s division;
•the annual Borderland “Ball Blast” tournament;
•the Northwestern Ontario women’s champions league; and
•registration fees/dates.

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