South Dundas Soccer registration begins this week

The South Dundas Soccer Association will open its registration for its 2022 seasons on February 4. Pictured above is a photo from July 24, 2021 during week two of the 2021 summer season. Team Germany forward Lane Ouellette (centre, red jersey) scores the final goal of the team’s 5-0 win over Team Wales in the Under-7 division. (File photo)

SOUTH DUNDAS – It may not have gotten above freezing for the past month, but spring will be here soon and with it, the soccer season. On February 4, the South Dundas Soccer Association is opening its 2022 registration for its two soccer seasons.

“The fall soccer program we started last year was a success so it will return along with our regular summer program,” said SDSA President Phil Blancher.

There are a few changes to the program for the 2022 season, and for the first time in 10 years, the registration price has increased.

Blancher explained that the organization had tried to keep costs as low as possible to maintain the $40 per player registration fee by adding a successful business sponsorship program to increase revenue.

“COVID-19 hit that side of our operations hard,” he said. “We didn’t run a soccer program in 2020 but still had the expenses of the cancelled season. In 2021, the board decided not to ask for corporate sponsorships from businesses because of the impact of all the restrictions on business.”

Due to the size of the organization, the SDSA did not qualify for many of the sports funding and support programs offered by the Ontario government. Instead the soccer club drew on reserves and a few private donations from individuals to help deal with extra expenses.

“Still, increasing the fee to $45 per player for a season was not an easy decision,” Blancher said.

This season, the SDSA will offer a full season of its summer program, now rebranded to a Spring/Summer season, and the club is expanding its fall season to a Summer/Fall season.

“It’s a lot of soccer, but listening to the feedback from parents it’s something people want so the club is responding.”

The Spring/Summer season will begin May 21 and run until July 23 – 10 weeks in total including playoffs. Blancher said he was unsure if the season will conclude with tournament festivities like before the pandemic began. That will depend on what restrictions are in place at the time, and how many volunteers are available to assist.

After a month off in August for summer break, the SDSA’s Summer/Fall season will kick off on August 23. That season will run until October 15 on select weekday evenings or Saturdays.

“One of the great things about last fall’s season was just having the chance to enjoy the game so late into the year,” said Blancher.

The pandemic has modernized some of the operations of the club, primarily registration. This year the SDSA has moved to a completely online-based registration system, which includes the ability to accept credit card payments for the first time.

“There are still options for those who don’t want to use electronic registration, but it does make it easier for the organization when there are fewer volunteers helping behind the scenes,” he said.

To try to promote the fall soccer season, the SDSA is offering a discount if players register for both Spring/Summer and Summer/Fall seasons at the same time.

“There is a savings in insurance costs so we can pass that on to families,” Blancher explained. “Hopefully that will encourage more youth and families to register.”

Registration is $45 per player per season, or $80 per player for both seasons, and can be found on the club’s website.

Other soccer initiatives Blancher hopes to resurrect for 2022 include competitive travelling teams, and a return of adult pickup soccer coined ‘Old-n-slow’ soccer for those over the age of 18.

“There were quite a few requests last year to bring this back,” he said. “Our first year of this was in 2019 and it was a good way of getting out and being active.”

Two other areas that the club hopes to draw more attention to are attracting volunteers to help with many aspects of the organization, and getting more youth volunteers.

“Like any recreation organization in the area, without volunteers you don’t have a program,” Blancher said adding that the number of volunteers in the SDSA has dropped but participation has not.

“Our player registrations were steady over 400 before 2020, but volunteer levels dropped about 15 per cent per year over five years. Many coaches the last two seasons were coaching two, or in a few cases, three teams.”

Similarly, student volunteer numbers have also declined. Secondary school students are required to earn 20 volunteer hours (2022) and up to 40 volunteer hours for students graduating by 2023 or later.

“You don’t have to be a coach to volunteer,” said Blancher. “There are many roles for adults and students to help out from field maintenance, canteen, refereeing, setup and more.”

For more information on the SDSA programs, to register, or to volunteer, visit the association’s website at

Since you’re here…

… Thanks for reading this article. Local news is important. We hope that you continue to support local news in your community by reading The Leader, online and in print. Please consider subscribing to the print edition of the newspaper. Click here to subscribe today.

Subscribe to Email Alerts

Enter your email address to subscribe to Email Alerts and receive notifications of new posts by email whenever The Leader publishes new content on our website.