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By Chris Marchand
Five hundred kids. That’s a lot of kids.
That’s how many will be enrolled in the ranks of Dryden Youth Soccer this season. It goes without saying that the organization could use a little help from parents and volunteers.
Dryden Youth Soccer’s Gary Nickle says you don’t necessarily need previous soccer experience to lend a hand — particularly with younger kids, where the emphasis is placed more on having fun. The league hosts coaching and referee clinics to help volunteers get a grasp on the basics.
“I think people always get the feeling, ‘well, I don’t know anything about soccer’,” said Gary Nickle. “That’s okay. If you can run a game of freeze-tag, you can still coach a bunch of four-year-olds. If you’re good at organizing, you can help. For high school kids, it’s a way for them to earn volunteer hours.
The group recently elected their executive and saw the retirement of longtime president Carlos Raposo after many years of tireless advocacy, fundraising, and leadership of youth soccer in Dryden.
“He’s put in so many years that I can’t even remember,” said Nickle. “He and his wife Marilyn were key contributors to the success of the league over the years.”
Vice-president, David LeClerc has stepped into the leadership role in Raposo’s absence. Shannon Doudiet will act as treasurer, Karla Markowski is secretary, Margaret Oversby and Gary Nickle will serve as directors.
“We’re actively looking for other people who would like to help out on the executive,” said Nickle. “We’re definitely for looking for someone who would like to step up into the president’s role.”
Youth Soccer operates on four pitches at North Dryden’s Rotary Park area — leased from the city of Dryden and The Northwest Catholic District School Board.
The 2012 season will see some changes to the way games are scheduled, focusing more on midweek evenings. It’s a move that Nickle says will appeal to parents who might have been discouraged by game scheduling that extended into the weekends — interfering with travel or cottage plans.
“We’ve got enough fields now that the kids can play soccer through the weeknights and we don’t have to hold it on the weekends,” said Nickle. “That’s a change for us. We think our participation will probably increase.”
With the pitches now in place, Nickle says the group will turn its attention to completing the original vision for Rotary Park, which included a multi-purpose building at the soccer field site to house a concession stand, washrooms, drinking fountains, change rooms and a tournament room.
“We are looking to get a building up on site and have started to do some fundraising for that,” said Nickle. “Now that the fields are all done and in working order, we can turn our attention to other things — the fence was another big thing.”
Nickle says Dryden Minor Soccer is also seeking sponsorship from local business.
For more information contact Gary Nickle at firstname.lastname@example.org, or David LeClerc at email@example.com.