Need for volunteers reaches injury time-Little help means soccer players can’t develop full potential

Earl Ruttle, left, and Daniel Wong battle for possession of the ball during a July 11 pick-up soccer game on the Diamond Jenness Secondary School sports field.

I try to teach them, but they won’t listen!” he jokingly tells his goalie.

Pinto is the only volunteer who organizes soccer for teens aged 14 and above on Monday and Wednesday nights on the sports field at Diamond Jenness Secondary School.

After spreading the word a few weeks ago, more and more people have been showing up to play. He even put up several signs around Hay River to encourage people to play.

Pinto has been involved with school teams for several years and also helps organize the younger teams that play during the summer, where participation is even higher. The trouble lies in finding volunteers who can commit to helping out on a regular basis.

We have nine volunteers for the under eight, under 10 and under 12 teams,” he said.

For the under-six team, there isn’t a single person who can help. We have one person filling in temporarily, but we really need someone who can commit.”

Registration has varied in the past few years, according to league organizer Louise Schumann.

It’s up and down. It depends on the years, but we lack the volunteers to keep it going,” she said.

Pinto said there is a serious need for at least five more volunteers – people who could be responsible for equipment, organizing practices, taking care of the field and other duties.

If we can get more people to help out, it would allow us to set up more games and that’s how the kids would develop their skills,” he said. “After that, we can turn towards choosing a president, a secretary, a treasurer, and think about creating a proper association here in Hay River.”

The fields around Hay River are in decent condition, according to both Pinto and Schumann.