With several of the youth divisions wrapping up at the Woolwich Youth Soccer Club, the organization now has its sights set on the upcoming adult house league season.
The youngest soccer players in the Active Start program for 3- to 6-year-olds just finished their season on Monday. WYSC president, Angela Richards, said that enrollment continues to grow.
“I think we’re at about somewhere between 360 and 380 between our Elmira and Breslau program for that age. Our young guys are still flourishing,” said Richards.
The 7- to 10-year-old age group, called the FUNdamentals, overall had similar enrollment numbers to previous years.
Richards did note, however, that the numbers have been down for the older ages for the past two years. As a result, the club has been collaborating with other organizations in surrounding areas, including the Fergus Elora District Soccer Association and the St. Clements Soccer Club.
Richards noted she is unsure of what will happen in the future with older divisions in the numbers continue to stay the same. Those who do show up for the older age divisions, however, are very dedicated to the program – that includes Richards’ own son, Mason.
“The 16-18 are really enjoying just going and playing soccer for the fun of it. They really don’t take it seriously at all. They’re just going, getting some exercise, having fun, and they’ve met so many new friends,” said Richards.
The atmosphere is not overly competitive in any of the leagues; in fact, all teams under age 12 do not keep score in any of their games. The Ontario Soccer Centre published a document outlining how soccer would operate for youth across the province.
“There’s this thing called long term player development that’s come down from Ontario Soccer so that actually mandates us not to keep scores and standings,” said Richards. “That’s something we have to follow, so that’s for U12 and under.”
The younger ages (U11) practice one day a week; this consists of a half-hour warm-up in the beginning, followed by an hour-long game. Richards said that the more lax schedule in itself draws in participants from across the region.
“So generally, what sets us apart from let’s say, starting at age 7 in Waterloo … they do two days a week,” said Richards. “We get a lot of people that don’t want to do two days a week come to us because we only do one day a week.”
The organization’s adult house league registration is opening up once again for the third year in a row. The program is for those 18 and over, drawing participants from all across Waterloo Region and beyond, including Drayton, Elora and Fergus.
“Registration is open again for the fall league – it’s fun, participants can go get some exercise, play with other people who want to get some exercise and have fun,” she explained.
Members are organized into four separate teams based on self-rated skill level to keep an even playing field. Anyone is welcome to register, whether entirely new to the sport (D-level) or soccer veterans (A-level).
More information is available online at www.woolwichyouthsoccer.com.