South Cariboo Minor Soccer is looking forward to another great year. Photo: Lee Hand.

South Cariboo Minor Soccer is looking forward to another great year. Photo: Lee Hand.

South Cariboo Minor Soccer hoping for another great season

The organization has seen participation explode in the the last four years.

Participation in the South Cariboo Minor Soccer Association (SCMSA) has grown by more than 50 per cent over the last four seasons, going from 210 members in 2014 to 340 in 2017. With registration for this year’s season just around the corner, SCMSA president Lee Hand hopes the numbers at least stay the same as last year.

“It’s hard to tell what the final numbers are until March,” she says. “You get some stragglers. People are still pretty focused on hockey.”

The success of the SCMSA meant that during the 2017 season they were pushed for field space at the pool park in Ashcroft. Hand says they have reached an agreement with the Ashcroft HUB to use the field there on game nights. “We have enough pitches [three] for the U7s, but we’d run out of room for the older kids,” says Hand. “The fourth field will solve some scheduling issues we had last year. When Lillooet and Logan Lake play each other they generally come to Ashcroft to play, rather than have one team travel to the other.” The fourth field will be used by the U10, U13, and U16 teams.

It will also help during the annual invitational tournament, which last year saw 26 teams—18 from SCMSA and eight from other leagues—take part. “The tournaments just keep getting bigger and bigger,” says Hand. “Last year’s was the biggest one I can remember.” She adds that they hope to be able to arrange a U16 tournament, but that it’s difficult, as many towns do not have enough youth aged 14 to 16 who want to play soccer.

In addition to teams in Lillooet and Logan Lake, the SCMSA has teams in Ashcroft/Cache Creek and Clinton, and Hand says that this year they hope to have a whole U13 team from Lytton Games are played on Mondays (U10 and U16) and Wednesdays (U7 and U13), with teams generally practising on the day they don’t play.

Hand says that the season is scheduled to start (weather permitting) on April 9, and will run until the end of June. In years gone by the season ended in June and then resumed briefly in September. However, Hand says that when the new executive took over they did a survey, with most people saying they wanted the season to be from April to June only. “When the kids get back to school they have a bigger load, and people are already looking to hockey.”

Registration for the 2018 season is on February 6, 13, and 20 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Desert Sands Community School; February 8, 15, and 22 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Cache Creek Elementary School; and on February 8 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at David Stoddart School in Clinton. The cost is $75 per child (U7) and $100 per child for the other three divisions (each additional child in a family gets a $10 discount).

Hand acknowledges that the fees might be out of the reach of some families. “If there are any financial concerns, I’d rather someone come talk to me and sort something out than have them not register. I’d rather see kids play. Please come and see me so we can work something out. I’d rather see where we can help out so the kids can play.”

Socks, shin guards, shorts, and soccer balls are available for purchase during registration. Parents must purchase shoes for their child(ren), but Hand says they do have a bin of donated shoes that families can look through.

The U7 players get T-shirts, which they get to keep, while players in the other divisions have jerseys which are returned at the end of the season. The T-shirts and jerseys are sponsored by local businesses, at a cost of $250 per team for U7s and $550 per team for the other divisions.

“We’re checking out the jersey situation,” says Hand, “but we’re definitely looking for three or four new sponsors.” Any businesses interested in sponsoring a team, or anyone who would like more information, can contact Hand at (250) 457-3437.

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