With the 2018 season barely weeks behind them, and the weather just starting to turn, the Woolwich Youth Soccer Club (WYSC) lost no time gearing up for next year. The local soccer league is finishing up the last of its tryouts this coming weekend, setting the stage early for next summer’s competition.
Although WYSC is filling its rosters ahead of time, the season won’t truly kick-off for most teams until after the new year.
“The tryouts that are happening right now are setting up teams for 2019,” said Brendan Lowther, vice-president of Woolwich Youth Soccer. “Most of the teams will take a break between the end of tryouts and January. A couple of teams will continue on, but most of them take a break until January and then we start practicing indoors.”
The early tryouts – coming so soon after the end of the previous season – gives the kids a chance to compete for placements in the upcoming season while still in “soccer mode,” said Lowther, while the winter break lets the kids try out new activities and sports.
“We encourage them, just like everybody else, we encourage them to try different sports and try different things,” explained Lowther. “We also recognize that this is a big hockey town, and most of those kids are playing hockey or some other kind of winter sport. And so we want them to continue to do those things and not necessarily always be year-round soccer.”
This year’s tryouts come after a particularly strong 2018 season for the Wolfpack, with the standouts being the U13 girls, who qualified for the Ontario Cup quarter-finals in August before falling to the competition.
“Our U13 from last year, which will be U14 this year did really well,” said club president Andrea Richards. “That team tends to practice all winter, at least once a week to be prepared for the summer season. Not all teams do, but a lot of teams are becoming more like that.”
This coming season, the now-U14 team will be seeking to move up in the ranks, from the district level of competition to the regional level, at the South-West Regional Soccer Association.
“That is a higher level of play, for sure. They will be travelling farther, like Windsor, Sarnia, London,” said Richards. “Sort of the best of the best goes up to the regional division. So they’re hoping they will get into that so they will have even more competition.”
While tryouts are almost over, there are still a few teams still seeking players, said Lowther, with vacancies in the U9 boys, U10 girls, U14 boys and U15 boys teams. Those interested in trying out for the teams are encouraged the reach out to the Woolwich Wolfpack.
While interest in the youth soccer league has remained fairly consistent this year, Richards notes there has been a significant increase in the U9 boys.
“This year, we have had the biggest interest we have right now is from the U9 boys. The U9s for next year,” said Richards. “We’ve never really had two teams at one age level, and we are very close to having enough for two teams, which is impressive. So that age for sure is very into it, and we hope we can get two teams so that many more kids can play.”