MORRISBURG – A new soccer development program for youth age 8-12 will kick off at the end of the month.
South Dundas Soccer, which runs spring, summer, and fall soccer programming based in Iroquois, will begin its first indoor winter soccer program on November 30 at Morrisburg Public School.
The program is designed to help youth soccer players develop ball control and decision making skills while also improving reaction time in the game.
Indoor soccer uses a heavier ball than traditional outdoor soccer, which helps develop power in player’s kicking ability. Playing in a smaller area like a gymnasium in a five versus five player format gives more opportunity for players to be creative evading opposition. It also improves player’s confidence in playing one-versus-one challenges for the ball.
Two 70-minute weekly sessions are planned for Wednesday nights, excluding the Christmas holidays.
The early session (6:15 p.m. to 7:25 p.m.) is for players who identify as female, age 8 to 12. The later session (7:35 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.) is co-ed age 8 to 12.
There are no teams. Rather the first 40 minutes each session will work on skill development with the roster of co-ed youth coaches involved with the program. The remainder of the session will see the players split into two teams to play a friendly match to put the skills developed that night into practice.
Registration for now is drop in, and capped at approximately 40 people. Players already registered previously in 2022 with the club only need to be signed in, while those who have not played in the South Dundas Soccer program in 2022 will have a longer form to fill out. Players under 10 are asked to have a parent or guardian remain.
Club President Phil Blancher explained that a more formal registration process may be needed if they program consistently has over capacity issues.
“Either way, the program is being offered at zero cost to families in order to grow more interest in the sport and provide another recreation opportunity in South Dundas.”
Volunteers with the club have been planning a winter soccer program for a while, but it was only recently that the move to Morrisburg was considered.
“The organization looked at booking space at Seaway, but we did not want to take away time from already established recreation programming there,” Blancher said. “One of the frequent comments we hear with our other soccer programming is that transportation to Iroquois is an issue. An opportunity was available to locate the indoor program at Morrisburg Public, so we gladly thought it would be good to try it out.”
Equipment from the summer program was originally going to be re-purposed for the indoor program such as portable nets and some mid-sized soccer balls. However a pitch to another community group yielded support for this program and others offered by the SDSA.
“The support from 100 Women who care about South Dundas is awesome,” said Blancher. The SDSA was awarded initially $4,500 in early October to support equipment purchases and assist with replacing a set of soccer goals located on municipal soccer fields in Iroquois.
“The support from the organization means we will begin with the proper indoor equipment to get the program off on the right foot – pun intended.”
To play in the indoor winter soccer program, players only require clean indoor running shoes and shin guards. As well, they need appropriate clothing like shorts or athletic pants that allow the full range of movement. Workout wear like leggings etc. is not recommended due to the possibility of tripping or floor contact.
Blancher cautioned that the only concerns that may impact the start of the winter program are possible labour issues that may cancel use of the school.
The SDSA is using the MPS gym through the Upper Canada District School Board’s Community Use program.
“In the event of a strike or other labour action where school may be cancelled, the community use permit for that night will also be cancelled,” he explained. “Labour issues are beyond our control but the support of the UCDSB is very much appreciated for the use of the space when available.”
Snow days that close schools will also result in the program not running that day.
He added that the soccer club qualified for a 100 per cent subsidy, which also helps with the SDSA offering the winter program at no cost.
Blancher said he was looking forward to the winter program beginning.
“It’s something different, in a different location in South Dundas, and will really help develop skills for those who are really keen on playing more in the sport,” he said. “It’s great to have recreation options here, and something affordable for families.”
The SDSA’s winter indoor soccer program will run Wednesday evenings beginning November 30 and run through to mid-February 2023.