By Grace Oborne
For Chris Carere, the game of soccer is about fun and inclusivity.
Two years ago, Carere was a member of the Haliburton Soccer Club. However, due to peak COVID-19 times, it became increasingly difficult to continue playing.
Since then, indoor recreational programs have made a comeback, leaving individuals wanting more outdoor activity.
“Minden ran an indoor recreational program this spring, starting at the end of May and ending last night, at the new arena. I’m not sure exactly the numbers, but maybe about 20 people signed up, which made me think that we had enough people there to say, ‘Okay, we have a good go to do the outdoor programs again,” Carere said.
Dysart runs a kid’s program for ages 13 and under and a woman’s league, Haliburton Grassroots Athletics, has formed. This leaves men, teenagers, and young adults needing a spot to play.
“Kathy Judson came and wanted to start soccer up again, which was a great idea. Fortunately, but unfortunately, she is only doing a women’s league. This means that there are a lot of guys who have played for years, who are still really interested in playing.”
Carere received a permit from Trillium Lakelands District School Board to start a 13 or older co-ed soccer program that will take place at Archie Stouffer Elementary School starting Wednesday, June 22, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The cost will be $50 per person.
“I wanted to do ages 13 and over so that any kids who want to play but are too old to play in the kid’s league, can play, as long as they’re physically able to compete with adults,” she said.
“We can take any kids able to compete, because certainly, it’s a fun thing. We’ll divide it up so that it’s even.”
There isn’t another option for co-ed soccer in the county, making this program new and exciting for the community.
At Archie Stouffer, the fields are smaller, therefore the games will be small-sided.
“At Archie Stouffer, we can use the small fields and play small-sided soccer. That would be five versus five, or six versus six. On 11 versus 11 fields, there are people who get left out from the ball because it just never gets over to them, meaning they don’t get a lot of play” Carere said.
“Playing on smaller fields, I find the adults and the kids are more involved. This means everybody gets a lot of touches on the ball.”
Carere hopes to run multiple games at once given the opportunity to have access to smaller fields.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to run two games if we have too many for one field. We can just run two side by sides. That way, we can just keep everybody involved in playing the games or have substitutions if needed,” she said.
The program will be a team effort in terms of coaching and refereeing. Officiating will be based on an honour system among players.
The end date is likely to be in September. Carere hopes to run the program until they no longer can play.
“I will go until we can no longer play. Probably to the middle of September or late September. There are also talks about possibly running the program indoors starting in September, but I won’t have all the details or a confirmation for another week or two,” Carere said.
Having an all-ages, co-ed soccer program in the community is important to Carere.
“The fact that it’s co-ed and all ages, is important. I have always played co-ed since I moved up here. I quite enjoy it and I find that the group, especially this one that’s been playing in Minden since May, is very inclusive. I wanted to do that again for the community as well.”
For more information, reach out to Carere at firstname.lastname@example.org.