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Three former players join board of directors of Woolwich Youth Soccer

There are some new, young faces now sitting on the board of Woolwich Youth Soccer, and they are ready to give back to the organization that has given them so much.

Sydney Jones, Takuya Shibayama and Connor Goodwin, all former members of Woolwich Youth Soccer (WYS) teams, have been appointed to the board for the club, volunteering their time for the young players currently gearing up for next summer.

Steve Sider, the club’s new president, says he hopes to see the incoming board members create some new energy and “buzz” for the future.

“All three of them have been through the Woolwich system as players, they did really well and now they are giving back,” he said. “We want to look in new directions and think of ways to develop our players in Woolwich, and these three represent that really well.”

The club hosts rep and house league teams for soccer players in the township aged 5 to 18, and now that these players have aged out of the club, Jones says she wants to help on the administrative side of things.

“It has been a huge part of my life,” she said, mentioning that before being asked to be a member of the board, she was coaching and training younger players. “I have always felt a sense of belonging in Woolwich and I loved representing them on the pitch. Now, I feel committed to the club and want to help any way I can in the long run.”

Shibayama was pleased to accept a spot on the board, helping direct the future of the young players. Playing soccer in Woolwich was a big part of his life when he first came to Canada.

“More than the actual game, I love soccer for the camaraderie and playing with friends,” he said. “When I moved to Canada, I didn’t speak much English, but playing soccer helped me make a lot of friends. I knew the rules in my native language, so it was relaxing to play when I first moved here.”

He has also taken his love of sports into his everyday life in university. He sees his spot on the board as complementary to his choice of study.

“What I am studying in university is focused on health. I have been learning how important it is for kids at that age to start getting active, especially in sports, in order for physical health to develop properly,” he said, adding that it was also about lending a hand doing something he loves. “I thought, why not get involved in my own community and try and make it a bit better. I love the game.”

Sider says it is important to have younger faces sitting around the board room because it gives the players someone to relate to. The new members have been through the WYS teams and know what they are talking about.

“The younger kids love them. They are just the great role models you want as a parent,” he said. “They have stepped up with reffing, coaching or training and they get a lot of respect from the kids.”

Part of the new ideas for soccer development Sider wants to get in place moving forward will be starting this winter. Although not all the details have been ironed out, he says there will be development and training programs running before the regular season starts in May.

“In the past, it has been up to coaches (to keep players playing), but this year we are launching a new program in January,” he said. “It is giving kids an opportunity to get their foot on the ball throughout the winter, get them on the field.”

For more information about the Woolwich Youth Soccer Club and a full list of board members, visit www.woolwichyouthsoccer.com.

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