BY ZACHARY CORMIER
Outdoor soccer season is nearly upon us, and the Lacombe Soccer Association has been hard at work with preparations for their busiest time of year.
“This year we’re getting new jerseys because we had to go through a name change. But other than that we’re really excited and looking forward to this year,” said Jon Mulder, the president of the Lacombe Soccer Club, formerly Lacombe Minor Soccer Association.
According to Mulder, the name change, which needed to be made due to a couple of internal issues, won’t affect any of the day-to-day operations of the Club as the outdoor season looms large on the horizon.
“We got over a little bit of speed bumps. But, considering the economy, enrolment is very encouraging,” he said.
Lacombe’s junior soccer teams will hit the pitch for the first time this season later this month at the SunBreaker Tournament in Camrose and regular play for both the Mini and Junior divisions will begin in early May.
The junior soccer program consists of teams ranging from the U10 Development team all the way up to the U18 club while the mini program encompasses the younger age groups.
“This year we have U5s, U6s and U8s and that’s doing very well. Enrolment might even be up a little bit, or is on par,” Mulder said of the mini leagues, adding this year has also seen a jump in coach participation for those younger age groups.
“Our coaches’ involvement this year is exceeding expectations. We’ve got a lot of coaches signed up, so that’s very encouraging.”
One possible reason for the jump, he said, could be the new league provided coaches’ training courses, which were very successful.
“What we were going for was for the training to teach parents who don’t really know much about soccer, let alone coaching it, exactly how to structure their practices and what to expect.”
The response was excellent. According to Mulder almost every clinic was completely full.
“It was really nice to see that.”
As for the Junior teams, Mulder said he hopes they can continue their strong showing from last season, which saw the U18boys win provincial gold, the U16 boys take home provincial silver and the U12 girls take home the Central Alberta Soccer Association Divisional banner.
“If we can take that ball and keep rolling with it. It would be nice if we can keep success going up and retain players. If we can retain a lot of players that would be very successful on our end as well.”
The registration deadline for the LSC expired in late March, though there are still a few teams who may be looking to fill out roster spots.
“For some teams, if they’re still 10 players short, we’ll still take it to fill out the roster, but we try to discourage that.”
He also noted that the organization is always looking for parent volunteers to help out throughout the year.
“We’re always looking for volunteers, especially with the older kids. Just helping coaches and coaching themselves and that sort of stuff,” he said, adding that the LFC is excited for the upcoming year.
“It’s a fantastic activity. It gets the kids outside, especially when the weather’s changing. And it’s right at the end of the school year, so just to get the kids out of the house and burn of some steam.”
The Lacombe Soccer Club’s outdoor season officially kicks off on May 1st.