Youth soccer season in jeopardy of folding

Lucas Punkari

The situation is simple.
If there are not enough volunteers willing to help out with Fort Frances Youth Soccer this year, and if an interest to fill positions on the board of directors isn’t shown at the annual general meeting next Tuesday (Feb. 7), there won’t be a season at all for the more than 500 players aged five-15 who take part in the “beautiful game” here.
“We are concerned, as a board, as this upcoming season is on the verge of not happening as we do not have enough volunteers to run the season successfully,” warned FFYS secretary Catherine McGuire.
“We need help with the registration nights in March, making the teams, typing up the team lists and schedules, setting up the referee schedules, helping to set up nets at the field, all of those kinds of things,” she stressed.
Along with the lack of volunteers, three members of the board will not be returning this year due to either other commitments or leaving the area altogether—leaving those spots open at the moment.
“Right now we only consist of a vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and a field manager,” McGuire noted.
“One of those positions that needs to be filled is the role of president, but I don’t think that anyone is going to walk in off of the street and become the president in just their first year of helping out,” she reasoned.
“So we are not as worried about filling that spot.
“The main thing, though, is that we just need more hands on deck as there are so many things that you need to do in an organized sport, and right now we don’t have enough people to do that.”
The situation with Fort Frances Youth Soccer is very similar to what happened with the Borderland Soccer League a year ago, when the entire board of directors for the local adult league had to be filled at its annual general meeting.
“It’s never been this bad for us,” McGuire said.
“We had been running somewhat slim before, but with the three board members leaving this season that just adds to it,” she explained.
Another issue up for discussion at next Tuesday’s general meeting, which gets underway at 6:30 p.m. at the Memorial Sports Centre, is getting the coaches for the teams set up far earlier than in the past.
“Finding coaches is one of our most difficult tasks that we have as it’s sometimes hard to find people to commit the time because of their schedules,” McGuire explained.
“This year, the board is asking for coaches to volunteer prior to the season, as this way we know how many players we accept for each division on registration night.
“In the past, the board members have had to spend a couple of evenings on our own time calling every parent of a player on a team to try and find someone who [was] willing to coach, and we just don’t have that kind of time,” she stressed.
“We also want to let people know that they don’t have to be a pro at soccer in order to coach as we help to supply everyone with the things that they need, and that we can also have two people co-coach a [team] if they have to due to work commitments.”
The 2012 season—if it goes ahead—also will see the FFYS revert back to a May-June schedule after it tried playing from May until July last year.
“We had put out a survey a couple of years ago, where 60 percent of those who responded wanted to have a longer season, so we tried to have it last year,” McGuire noted.
“However, with a lack of attendance at the field after school was out in June, we have decided to go back to the May until June schedule for this year.”