Life is always a little different in a small town. There are plenty of soccer leagues in the Waterloo Region, but with the St. Clements Flames opening registration for 2014, it’s the rural spirit that forms the centre of their brand.
“I do find that ours has its own identity, being in such a small, rural area,” says Tiffany Rodrigues, president of the St. Clements Flames.
“It’s nice because everybody knows everybody – it’s a very family feel. Not just with our coaches and volunteers but also with our kids and with their families. There isn’t somebody on our board or on our association that doesn’t know somebody that’s playing out there, and our children that are playing out in the field.”
Rodrigues, who also recently coached Waterloo Minor Soccer, says there is a big contrast with the urban leagues.
“I found it completely different,” said Rodrigues of WMS. “There are so many children, and everybody’s playing at a different time, and so many parents I could barely meet somebody new and have a relationship with them that way.
“I find we have a very close-knit community, and we’re very family-oriented.”
The venerable soccer club has undergone changes in recent years. Coaching staff are now given a chance to train with professionals from Challenger Sports, who also host a summer soccer camp for children ages 8 to 14. The club has also implemented skill development techniques from FIFA.
“Any sport is an excellent opportunity to build kids’ confidence,” said Rodrigues. “What we bring to our soccer season will not only build skills and confidence, but if you’re looking to come out and have fun, and watch your child have a good time, St. Clements Soccer is where you should go.”
Soccer skill-development is fine, but can people really be in a soccer frame of mind when the temperatures are plunging below zero and the fields are covered in ice?
“I would say the emails I’ve received in the last few weeks from parents – ‘When is the registration opening?’ – says that it’s on everybody’s mind,” said Rodrigues.
“I think with the weather we’re having, people are trying to picture the soccer season out in the nice warm weather. Everybody outside on their lawn chairs, watching the kids play.”
A registration session takes place today (Saturday) at the St. Clements Arena (1 Green St.), 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration is also open at www.stclementssoccer.com.