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Youths get a ‘kick’ out of soccer

Some of the 250 Aldergrove youths who participated in the unique spring soccer camp over the past 10 weeks in Aldergrove. The provincial soccer association wants to emulate this program across B.C. Aldergrove Elks awarded $3,000 to the Aldergrove Youth Soccer program Monday. From left, B.C. Soccer’s Don Dancey, Elk John Jackman, Aldergrove Youth Soccer president Bill Ede and Elk Don Williams. - HARRY HUNT PHOTOS
Some of the 250 Aldergrove youths who participated in the unique spring soccer camp over the past 10 weeks in Aldergrove. The provincial soccer association wants to emulate this program across B.C. Aldergrove Elks awarded $3,000 to the Aldergrove Youth Soccer program Monday. From left, B.C. Soccer’s Don Dancey, Elk John Jackman, Aldergrove Youth Soccer president Bill Ede and Elk Don Williams.
— image credit: HARRY HUNT PHOTOS

The philosophy is simple: keep the costs down and enable every youth in Aldergrove to give the game of soccer a try.

That’s been the guiding principle of Aldergrove Youth Soccer Club, which wrapped up a 10-week program on Monday night at the Parkside fields for 250 youths aged five to 13 years old.

The introductory spring league program gives youths a chance to try it out before signing up for the winter program, if they decide to pursue the sport further.

President Bill Ede says too many youth soccer clubs are going in the other direction by offering elite programs for high level players at a cost that many families simply can’t afford. Ede concedes that there is a place for the elite programs, but the unfortunate result is that many recreational players are being edged out by both the competitive level and the high costs.

The spring program, which the Aldergrove Elks have sponsored for the past two years, “is being promoted by the executive of B.C. Soccer as a way to introduce new players to the game, as well as provide an inexpensive alternative to the elite programs,” says Ede.

“We pride ourselves on offering a program that is fun, provides outdoor exercise and is affordable for everyone in our community.”

Thanks to the support of the Elks the cost was only $65 for the 10-week program in Aldergrove.

“We started five years ago with 75 players and now we’re up to 250 and have ‘maxed’ out our fields,” says Ede. “But next year we’ll have the new artificial turf fields at Aldergrove Athletic Park, so we’ll have more room for more players.”

B.C. Soccer president Roger Barnes has taken note of Aldergrove’s success and has asked Ede and company to write a manual that will serve as a template for other B.C. communities that wish to explore this program.

“Half of our players have never played before. This is their first time at the game,” says Ede.

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