Spruce Grove Soccer Association awaits season start in May

Article content

The Spruce Grove Soccer Association is preparing for the 2021 soccer season.

The club plays within the Edmonton Minor Soccer Association (EMSA) league and recently wrapped up registration in mid-April. The SGSA is looking forward to the start of the season next month on May 15.

“After the teams have been formed by the coaches and by SGSA, all players will have an opportunity to play on a team,” said Victor Mah, president of the Spruce Grove Soccer Association (SGSA. “According to the current public health guideline requirements, they will be practising outdoors.”

Soccer teams from Spruce Grove are just some of the many that belong to the EMSA including those from Sherwood Park, Edmonton, and St. Albert.

The SGSA has two divisions, including the Saints, which is a more competitive, premier division and a community division. Programs are offered to boys and girls from U4 to U19 with a separate program for adults. The mini division includes players between U4 to U7, while the youth division includes players from U9 to U13 and the adolescent division includes players from U14 to U19. That is followed by the adult division for anyone 18 years of age and older.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

“The season will start on May 15 and it will end in June, but then there are finals in mid-July and possibly mid-August,” said Mah. “For the community division the finals would be in mid-July and for our premier division or Saints division, they will end in August.”

The SGSA has been established in the city for more than 30 years and continues to enjoy success and popularity here in the tri-region.

“I believe soccer in our community here is the second largest youth sport in the community, behind gymnastics,” said Mah, noting that in a regular season the association usually has about 1,000 kids register for soccer. With the ongoing pandemic this year however, they are expecting numbers to be lower.

“We understand that’s reasonable due to the pandemic,” he said. “Lots of parents and children are still concerned about the Covid-19 virus, so because of that they have hesitations and they’re waiting to be vaccinated or when more people become vaccinated and public health restrictions ease.”

Mah said the association has followed health restrictions as well, ensuring proper sanitation of equipment, proper ratio of players to coaches, and distancing requirements. He noted the impacts that Covid-19 and the ongoing pandemic has had on the SGSA over the past several months.

“Covid has brought those numbers down quite significantly, understandably, but we are ensuring our members are remaining safe by implementing those public restrictions brought forth by the province and by our soccer association, the Alberta Soccer Association itself,” explained Mah.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

Those restrictions will continue to impact this season as many coaches and volunteers are working more hours and additional shifts to accommodate the smaller groups and health protocols.

“That really affects how we train our players, how we offer programing itself because normally on a team you would have two, possibly three coaches, depending on the age group, whether they’re in the community or Saints division,” explained Mah. “Normally a team would have a minimum of 16 players, so in this case when you have the eight players and two coaches format, that’s not possible.”

Mah said they are hopeful that they’ll be able to offer a full regular season this year. There will be no championship game for 2021, but teams with SGSA will be hitting the fields soon to ready themselves for the upcoming soccer season.

“(They’ll) begin practices and get their physical conditioning back into shape from the long winter…and hopefully get their skills back up (to speed),” Mah concluded.

For more information visit the Spruce Grove Soccer Association at www.emsasprucegrove.com

kjean@postmedia.com

http://twitter.com/globetrekker360

News Near Stony Plain

This Week in Flyers