The snow hasn’t melted quite enough to play on the outdoor pitches, but that’s not stopping the soccer season from getting underway in the coming weeks.
Teams from Hay River Schools will be travelling to Yellowknife and Grande Prairie, Alta., for Super Soccer tournaments this month, hopefully to return with banners and enthusiasm for taking to the fields through to the rest of the summer.
“The kids are very stoked,” said Ecole Boreale coach Kim Ivanko. “Practices are going great, the kids are progressing very nicely and I think we’re ready.”
While Ivanko said the goal is always to take top spot in the tournament, realistically, it’s more about the students having a great time, seeing peers from other places and getting active.
“I’m looking forward to seeing my friend who moved away to Inuvik,” said Sarah Buth at last week’s practice on Thursday at lunch. “I haven’t seen her in ages, and Inuvik goes to Super Soccer too.”
This will be Spencer Tweedie-Pitre’s first year at the tournament and he said he is looking forward to just playing the game.
“I’ve never been before, but I really really like soccer, so it should be fun,” he said.
Hay River teams may even have a new edge this year, with Elks Soccer having run throughout the winter as well as all last summer. Unlike teams in Yellowknife and Grande Prairie, local children haven’t before had the opportunity to play throughout the year.
“You can see it really makes a difference,” said Ivanko. “It really shows in their skill level and abilities.”
The tournament in Yellowknife will run April 23 through 26 with a similar one to follow the week after in Grande Prairie. While not all teams go to both, there is some overlap, giving everyone an action-filled start to the season.
“It’s really nice to just go and have a good showing,” said Ivanko. “The kids really all have a good time.”