A new co-ed soccer league that meets at Suwilaawks Community School is making sure that youth, regardless of skill, opportunity or economic means, have a chance to play the game.
Since the week of the May long weekend, a group of dedicated parents and volunteers have been coaching dozens of youth up to three times a week at the school’s field.
The new soccer league, started by the Wolverines athletics group associated with Suwilaawks allows youth ages 8 to 17 to play matches against each other, learn skills and, when possible, compete against other teams in town or elsewhere.
“We’re open to anybody who wants to come out and play,” said volunteer coach and parent Daniel Henry.
“We just want to provide sports for kids.”
The Wolverines group technically started a soccer team for interested students last year, but it was only recently that the idea of starting a co-ed soccer league came to fruition.
“In the last couple years there was maybe a handful of kids interested in soccer so we put together a team but this year there was definitely a lot more interest and lots of kids showed up,” Henry said.
“We didn’t know what it was going to be like but we put the word out there and told them, ‘OK, we have the field at this time and here’s the age groups and here’s the coaches and lots and lots of kids showed up. Definitely a lot more than the year before.”
Henry went on: “We’re hoping to grow this soccer league into a little mini-league so every year we’ll orchestrate the coaches and the field times and the games out of town. It’s all for fun.”
While there is already the Terrace Youth Soccer Association in town, the Wolverines hope to offer an alternative, low-barrier experience for youth that want to give soccer a try.
The Wolverines accomplish this by making the soccer league free for those that want to play.
“We started out because it’s free-sports so kids come out and play. If there’s games out of town or whatever then we’ll fundraise or do a bottle drive or something like that, and then help parents out with gas money and food and get the kids to tournaments,” Henry said.
Henry said that some of the youth participating in the league have been part of the youth soccer association before, but the Wolverines hope to offer options for others that perhaps couldn’t join the association.
“Some of the kids missed the deadline and didn’t get signed up or some of them hadn’t played soccer before. Maybe mom and dad are kind of leery about spending $160 to get them into soccer and they don’t want to do it,” he thought.
Henry said that youth from all over town were showing interest and joining the league, though the majority were coming from Suwilaawks.
He said last weekend they even took a group to play in a soccer tournament – about half a dozen games, he said – in Laxgalts’ap in the Nass Valley.
Henry said the parent volunteers are hoping to set up more soccer matches and tournaments in New Aiyansh and Kitimat in the coming months.
Henry stressed that the goal of the new soccer league is to expand and, generally, give youth the opportunity to give the sport of soccer a try.
“We’re all volunteers, if there was a need for more coaches we would ask for a parent to volunteer and say, ‘We got 40 kids that are 12 and under we need at least two coaches for it.’ That’s how our organization works,” Henry said.
The co-ed soccer league is currently meeting at the field at Suwilaawks Community School on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:30 p.m., and at 6 p.m. on Friday. Youth can be signed up at the school.