A hundred children turned out for the Ombrelle Active Start Soccer Fest last Saturday at Tri-Service Park, doubling the rosters for every age group.
“This has been brilliant timing,” said organizer Shelley Maher. “It’s really helping us kick off the season and it’s added to pretty much every group.”
Players from three to 13 took to the field in groups to work with coaches, learn new skills and play a few scrimmages. Although the event was free, it was also an opportunity for parents to sign their children up for the season of Elks Soccer, which partnered with NWT Kicks to put on the festival.
“It’s a chance for us to provide kids with the opportunity to see coaches from out of town, and to have our own coaches work with them too,” Maher said. “We’re trying to empower our own parents, we need them to be confident and we want them to have fun too.”
The players were certainly having a good time.
“It’s really fun,” said Shanelle Moore. “They’re teaching us more techniques and stuff.”
Ceaira McKay said her favourite part was learning to juggle the ball and Shayla Moore said she liked playing games and having fun.
“I’ve learned some new dribbling techniques,” said Layne Leonard. “I think that will really help in games.”
Maher said Elks Soccer is always looking for more coaches, especially now that there are between 20 and 30 children in every age group. Particularly exciting is the number of girls turning out to play said one organizer.
“I think it’s great to see them out and playing so well,” said Michelle Staszuk. “When we were young, women had no concept that they could run out into a stadium and hear 50,000 people cheering for them. Well, now the world cup is going on and that’s happening, and our girls are growing up knowing that that’s a possibility for them.”