Elks Youth Soccer making annual switch from outdoors to indoors

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo Alex Hubert, left, of Ecole Boreale moves the ball while being chased by Olivia Cox of Fort Smith's Joseph Burr Tyrrell School during the Elks Soccer Tournament held Sept. 23 to 25.

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Alex Hubert, left, of Ecole Boreale moves the ball while being chased by Olivia Cox of Fort Smith’s Joseph Burr Tyrrell School during the Elks Soccer Tournament held Sept. 23 to 25.

Elks Youth Soccer is getting ready to start its indoor season this month.

Following its annual outdoor tournament, it is ready to hit the gyms.

However, the exact dates are still to be determined.

“We’re trying to start them all soon and we’re just waiting to make sure we have enough volunteers and then we’re just waiting to find out what gym spaces are available,” said Shelley Maher, director for the Grades 7 to 9 team.

Maher said there will be no registration until the gym times are determined at Diamond Jenness Secondary School and Princess Alexandra School.

“It’s about gym time because you can’t ask someone to register for soccer when they don’t know what nights it’s going to be,” she said.

Michelle Staszuk, director for the Grades 5 to 6 team, also said Elks Youth Soccer needs to wait to find out from the schools what gym times they can offer.

“We’ve put in our requests but they have a lot of demands so they had to come up with a schedule and let us know,” she said.

Aside from waiting for gym times, Elks Youth Soccer is still looking for a few more volunteers.

“It’s entirely volunteer run like any of the sports here,” said Staszuk. “So each division has to have a parent who’s willing to be the director, a parent who’s willing to coach and parents willing to support it and help get you going.”

She added the organization has to go out and find volunteers every year.

Speaking on Sept. 30, Maher said almost all the volunteer positions are filled.

“I’d say we still need maybe two coaches and one director,” she said.

There are expected to be about 120 children in Elks Youth Soccer, which has games for boys and girls from Kindergarten to Grade 9.

They play the futsal variety of indoor soccer.

Created in Brazil, futsal is played with a weighted ball to encourage fast play, foot skills and keeping the ball on the ground. There are also kick-ins, fast changes and few stoppages in play.

Both Maher and Staszuk agreed that the indoor soccer season will become more important this year while the arena is being rebuilt.

“The kids need exercise and this is a great way for them to get activity,” said Maher.

“It’s going to be very important for kids to have something to do,” added Staszuk.

Eleven-year-old Kellan Mandeville, who has been playing soccer for two years, is looking forward to the upcoming indoor season.

“It’s fun and you get to see a lot of your friends,” he said.

Kellan also said he enjoys futsal.

“You get to learn more things about soccer,” he explained.

From Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, a regional futsal camp, presented by NWT Soccer, was held in Hay River.

The camp attracted 48 boys and girls, including at least two from Fort Resolution.

Last month’s annual Elks Soccer Tournament wrapped up the outdoor soccer season for youth in Hay River.

The Sept. 23 to 25 event attracted 41 teams from many schools in the NWT.

“That tournament is the perfect ending to the summer,” said Maher, noting Elks Youth Soccer goes year-round, including over the summer.

–Paul Bickford