Nanaimo minor soccer wants to fill the fields this fall.
Harbour City Football Club is making another push for registration as it gets ready for the start of the 2017-18 season, a little more than a month away.
“There’s always room, we’re never full, we’ll always find somewhere for someone to play,” said Daragh Fitzgerald, technical lead for Harbour City FC.
So far the club is looking at fielding 108 house teams and 13 rep teams, in addition to some higher-level players participating on Vancouver Island Premier League rep sides.
The club subscribes to a developmental model that has fewer players on the field at once, on smaller pitches.
“Its just about the kids getting more touches on the ball and making sure that we’re not putting them in too early to play an adults’ game, 11 [versus] 11 on a full-size field,” Fitzgerald said.
It means that soccer can suit kids of any age and skill, even the pint-sized ones in the U4-U5 Little Kickers program.
“It’s borderline not even soccer…” Fitzgerald began.
“It’s so much fun, though,” put in Maddy Dawson, club coach for U4-U8. “It gets them out touching the ball so they’re not really being scared of it anymore going up into U6. It’s really awesome.”
The club aims to keep the game affordable; it partners with JumpStart and KidSport organizations and has its own financial assistance program so that any children who want to play can play.
HCFC will accept registration at any time, but there are good reasons for signing up earlier rather than later.
“They want to play with their friends, so the sooner they do that, the more likely it is that we can make that happen,” said Fitzgerald. “If they register right before the season starts, most teams will be formed and we’ll just have to tag them onto the teams that have space.”
Joel Butler, club administrator, said “it’s a big jigsaw” to figure out practice and game times for so many teams. The grass fields can only handle so much wear and tear in inclement weather, while the artificial turf surfaces can handle literally 10 times as many hours of use each season as the grass pitches.
That said, Beban Park’s Gyro Youth Sports Fields are the home base for Harbour City FC and game-day Saturdays see more than three thousand players there over the course of the day. The club sets up activities for siblings, there’s music and a concession and the clubhouse hangout at the Lions Pavilion Fieldhouse.
“We try to really create that tournament atmosphere every single Saturday. It’s an event,” Butler said.
For more information about the club or to register, visit www.harbourcityfc.com.