With spring on the horizon, youth soccer would like to report on the 2018 season and announce plans for 2019.
2018 was another very successful year for youth soccer in the Bulkley Valley. Healthy and affordable outdoor fun was enjoyed by 306 girls and 445 boys in Smithers, Telkwa, Hazelton, and Houston, playing on 56 house league and five select teams.
In addition to our house league and select program, head coach Dan Imhof ran a soccer academy in the fall, winter and summer and we continued to benefit from the great mentorship program for young officials run by our referee coordinator Cindy Thummerer. As part of providing a safe and high-quality program, youth soccer now requires officials, coaches and team parents to complete a criminal record check.
Firsts for BV youth soccer in 2018, included
–our first chance to play on the renovated Highway Field at Chandler Park – the addition of irrigation was timely given the lack of rain;
–co-hosting Tot Soccer with the Town of Smithers and a U6 and U8 soccer festival with BC Soccer;
–hosting the girl’s portion of the Northern Cup tournament in June; and
–organizing an elementary school tournament in Smithers in the fall.
Although none of our select teams qualified for provincials, the number of BV youth soccer alumni playing university soccer in 2018 was the highest in recent years: Clay Kiiskila at UNBC in Prince George; Aaron and Natasha Steenhof at Kings University in Edmonton; Grant Hooper at VIU in Nanaimo; and Robin Price and Chantal Gammie at TRU in Kamloops. This fall, Chantal was named to the Canada West University Rookie All-Star Team.
Delivering our program to so many children is a challenge and one of the major changes we made in 2018 was retaining a part-time administrator. While there is a lot still to be done, having someone to shoulder a sizeable portion of the work load has made major volunteer jobs more manageable. Other improvements in 2018 were made to our website and Facebook page and to our handbook of policies and procedures, providing more clarity on the deliverables and timelines for key tasks.
BV youth soccer wishes to thank our two major 2018 sponsors; the Province of British Columbia for a Community Gaming Grant and the Wetzin’kwa Community Forest Corporation, whose grant was used to help pay for the fencing around Chandler Park. Many thanks also to all our volunteers and the staff of the Town of Smithers and District of Houston, the Village of Telkwa, and School Districts 54 and 82.
Smithers and Telkwa 2019 player registration began March 1 and ends April 1. Don’t miss out! Late registration will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances. New in 2019, parents registering their children will be directed to SignUp.Com to select volunteer roles.
BVSS will be offering all three officials courses this year: Small Sided for 12 years and up; Entry Level 14 years and up and Refresher for all previously certified officials. This is Cindy Thummerer’s last year in charge of Officiating and Coaching and we hope to mentor people this year to take over each of these roles in 2020. BVSS plans to continue with and perhaps expand its academy program in 2019 and for the first time will partner with the Town of Smithers in delivering a soccer camp in August.
Field availability will continue to be a challenge in 2019 with the closure of Walnut Park and the failure to complete the construction work at Chandler last year. Repairs to previous construction and construction of a third field at Chandler were scheduled by the Town of Smithers in 2017 and 2018. Again in 2019, we have been told the work will go ahead.
In conclusion, spring will soon be here and our volunteers have been hard at work planning for another great year. Visit the BVSS website for registration instructions (bvsoccer.ca/registration) and news of all our other youth soccer activities.
–Submitted by Bill Price, president of the Bulkley Valley Soccer Society.