Minor soccer expands its brand

The Nanaimo Youth Soccer Club announces the launch of Harbour City FC, a new year-round academy program.

Nanaimo Youth Soccer Club technical director Claude Bolton is overseeing the new Harbour City FC academy.

Nanaimo Youth Soccer Club technical director Claude Bolton is overseeing the new Harbour City FC academy.

Nanaimo minor soccer is expanding the field of play, so to speak.

The Nanaimo Youth Soccer Club launched its revamped, re-branded academy program this month with the announcement of Harbour City FC.

HCFC essentially replaces minor soccer’s district development centre program.

“The umbrella’s far more reaching,” said Claude Bolton, NYSC technical director. “Spring sessions have never been like this. Players have never had a program that they came out three or four times a week.”

The goal of Harbour City FC is to give youths as much soccer as they can handle, all under the direction of certified coaches.

Bolton said it’s a long-term development model that should help prepare keen players for  higher levels of the sport.

“How far we can actualize that potential, that will be based on the technical people we have on the field,” he said. “Coaching development directly influences player development. That’s why you don’t see as many volunteer coaches on our fields with these children … This is about high-level, licensed coaches running these programs.”

Harbour City FC will run an April session and a May-June session. In HCFC’s inaugural spring sessions, it expects to be able to garner enough registration numbers to run programs for U8-U14 divisions.

Bolton said never before has the NYSC been able to offer spring soccer with “travel teams”.

Costs are expected to be comparable or less than DDC registration, said Bolton. He said scheduling efficiencies will keep costs in line.

Harbour City FC won’t put much stock in wins and losses. Bolton said results shouldn’t matter in youth soccer, and said in most of the world, they don’t.

“We might have teams out there that don’t win games, if we’re trying to develop the player,” he said. “If we’re trying to develop the team, we can fix that. We have the coaches here that could tactically set up what we need to do to win games.”

The philosophy, he said, is to get kids playing. Bolton said he liked a quotation from 16th-century French writer Francois Rabelais.

“A child is not a vase to be filled, but a fire to be lit,” he said. “It’s about … allowing children who want more out of the game, an opportunity to have it, and for us, lighting the fire.”

SOCCER TALK … For more information, including details about registration, please visit the Nanaimo Youth Soccer Club’s official site.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com