After seeing steady increases in membership every year between 2014 and 2017, South Cariboo Minor Soccer Association (SCMSA) president Lee Hand hoped that 2018 numbers at least stayed even with 2017.
Instead, the SCMSA saw membership increase from 340 in 2017 to close to 400 kids in 2018; nearly double the number of kids registered in 2014 (210).
Lytton was able to field a U13 team last year, and Hand says there are hopes that they can also have their own U10 team for the 2019 season. In past years, Lytton kids have had to play on Ashcroft teams when there were not enough players to field a team.
“We’ve gone up every year,” says Hand. “People move in and kids come on board. There are lots of families, with up to five kids in one family.”
In addition to Lytton and Ashcroft, the SCMSA has teams in Lillooet, Cache Creek, Clinton, and Logan Lake, and Hand says that kids from other areas in the region, such as Thompson River Estates, also take part in the league.
Registration usually starts the first week of February, but that has been moved up this year to start in the last week of January and continue through the first two weeks in February. “We’re trying to get things done a bit earlier this year,” says Hand.
Registration fees have increased this year, to $100 for U7 players and $125 for players in the U10, U13, and U16 categories (additional siblings in a family get a $10 reduction in registration fees).
However, Hand notes that this year the fee includes shorts and a pair of socks for each registrant, in addition to a jersey for the older players (which has to be returned) and a T-shirt for each U7 player (which they get to keep). Shin guards, shoes, and balls are extra.
Even with the increase this year, Hand says that the SCMSA’s registration fees are extremely reasonable compared with Kamloops. “It costs at least $300 in Kamloops [for one child to register], plus equipment.”
Hand says there are various programs out there—such as KidSports’ Kids Can Play (www.kidsportcanada.ca/) or Canadian Tire’s Jump Start (http://jumpstart.canadiantire.ca/en.html)—designed to help families that might otherwise have difficulty affording the registration fees. She adds, however, that if these programs don’t work, families should talk to her.
“Contact me via text, phone, message, or writing to me. I’d rather see kids play than not play. Families with children under six years old can contact Deanna Horsting at Make Children First [Facebook page at Make Children First].”
The season starts—weather permitting—the first week of April, after spring break, with a week of practice and exhibition games. An invitational tournament is held in May, and te4ams try to make it to Clearwater for their invitational tournament. The SCMSA’s tournament is held at the end of June, and winds up the season.
Asked about kids who sign up for soccer and then find it’s not their cup of tea, Hand says that’s happened. “We’ve had people register, play for a couple of weeks, find they don’t like it, and leave.
“People need to register and pay for insurance purposes, but if they leave they get their fee back. Sometimes they just aren’t ready, and they come back and play the next year.”
Anyone who wants to register can check the advertisement in next week’s issue of The Journal for dates, locations, and times, call or text Hand at (250) 457-8437, or email email@example.com.
She notes that this year the SCMSA will be accepting e-transfers, as well as cash or cheques, for everything except the uniform deposit, which must be in the form of a cheque.
“We’re hoping to have a great season this year,” says Hand. “And I hope we get some great weather.”