Youth soccer opens season

Fort Frances Youth Soccer took to the pitches at the St. Francis Sportsfields on Monday evening with a record registration eclipsing the 700 mark.
“It’s the biggest we’ve ever had,” past president Rick Chambers said in between juggling late registration entries.
“There’s over 700 kids out there. It’s quite successful.”
The new plateau is a victory for the organization, which was born in the early 1990s.
The FFYS credits the new high with a bump brought on by adding a new “Squirt” division for four-year-old players.
The new division was inspired by a program in Thunder Bay, where children as young as three get introduced to the sport.
Chambers also said parent participation is very high in the new “Squirt” division.
“We’re hoping this is going to help us out in the long run,” he remarked.
One of those parents was Paul Redford, head coach of the “Small Fries.”
“It’s kind of neat. I’ve never coached little league,” he admitted yesterday evening, when the “Squirt” division hit the pitch for the first time.
“One of the best parts was getting a jersey,” he said of the brand new red shirts, which were accepted with excitement by his players.
Donalda Allen said her son, Dawson, having just turned five and clad in yellow as a member of the “Tykes” squad, “couldn’t wait for” the first practice.
“I’m absolutely excited. He’s been excited, too. Burn off some energy,” she laughed.
While Tuesday evening was more relaxed, Monday night was quite hectic (“the first day is always chaos,” Chambers conceded) between late registrants, a drizzling rain, and the lack of washroom facilities, with outhouses there closed for a few more weeks.
Still, players aged four-16 had fun in their first practices and games, playing with old friends and making new ones.
“I’m pretty happy with it. It’s nice to see all the colours and the kids out there,” Chambers said.
Current FFYS president Sarah Gould agreed. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it,” she said.