Youth soccer continues to grow here

Begun in the early 1990s, the Fort Frances Youth Soccer program has seen a steady increase in participation over the years. This year, for the first time, numbers have climbed above 700.
“It’s great news and we’re very happy the program has been so well accepted by local parents and youth,” said FFYS past president Rick Chambers.
“It’s a healthy, fairly low cost activity for ages four-16, and it gives kids something to do in May and June,” he added.
The last two years, FFYS has averaged 650 players, but the addition of the new “Squirt” division for four-year-olds this year has added more than 50 new faces to the program.
The “Squirt” division was the brainchild of new club president Sarah Gould, who will be supervising the program that begins next Tuesday (May 1), and will run Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30-6:10 p.m.
Gould said the new program will run much like Division I.
“It will be very hands-on from a coaching perspective,” she noted. “We’ll teach the children about soccer in a very fun way and play short informal games with coaches acting as referees.”
Gould said while recruiting for coaches in all of the younger divisions has gone very well, it’s more difficult to seek out coaches for full-field Division IV and V teams.
“There’s no question that we need more coaches for full-field, particularly Division IV,” she stressed.
“Parents seem a bit intimidated by the full field and extra players and the strategy involved, but we have mentors available to pass along suggestions about drills and handling your lineup, etc., so please if you are interested in coaching, call and let me know.”
The 2007 season begins next Monday (April 30) and will see 10 teams in Division I, 12 teams in Division II, 12 teams in Division III, and six teams in both Division IV and V, along with the four new “Squirt” teams.
Tomorrow (April 26) beginning at 6 p.m. at the St. Francis Sportsfields, the FFYS executive will host a coaches’ information session, where team packages will be handed out and questions answered.
Then at 6:30 p.m., also at the fields, a referee clinic for new officials and those wanting a refresher will be conducted by Trevor Hands, supervisor of league officials.
In related news, the 2007 FFYS executive has several new faces.
The new board is made up of Sarah Gould (president), Tara Redford (vice-president), Rick Chambers (past president), Lisa Grinsell (treasurer), and directors Russ Ling, James Dobie, Trevor Hands, Laureen Peters, Andrea Bell Perreault, Shauna Leigh Carlson, and Mike LaClair, who hails from Littlefork, Mn.
Gould said people who like to help out, but not at the director level, are most welcome to contact the board.
“We have many day-to-day duties during the season, like supervising and keeping the soccer storage building clean, getting flags out, making sure the ball bags are hung up properly, helping with wind-up, etc.
“Even if someone would like to help out a few hours a week during the season, they can contact me,” she added. “All help is appreciated.”
Gould can be reached at 274-2326.