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The Soccer Pitch

 

Olympia searching for soccer players

By Barry Williams
April 7, 2003

    Olds Olympia are looking for a few good men with a passion for soccer.

    Entering their sixth year of participating in the Central Alberta Men's Soccer League, the Olympia are preparing for the upcoming season.

    With a nucleus of players from last season returning, the Olympia have an excellent core to build a team but, there is an opportunity for more players to fill vacated positions or to form a second team in Olds.

    Olympia Manager, Rob Reichenbacher , feels there is enough interest in soccer within the area to field another senior men's team. With several Midget players graduating from Olds Minor soccer and other minor soccer organizations from within the area, the Olympia is filling a void for interested soccer players aged 18 years and older.

  "Right now I don't know what to expect as to how many players we will have this season but, there seems to be a good interest in the team," Reichenbacher said.

   "It would be an ideal situation to have at least 30 players registered then we could have two teams this season," added Reichenbacher.

    It is expected try-outs for the team will commence around the middle of May and league play will hit the pitches during the first week in June and continue weekly until the end of August.

    The Alberta Men's Soccer League is one of the premiere leagues in the province and usually operates with 12 teams. However, this year the league is looking to bring in a couple  new teams into the fold. Red Deer is expected to have four teams entered in league play and there is talk two more teams could be involved in play this year. Other member teams in the Central Alberta Men's soccer League include, Olds, Lacombe, Rocky Mountain House and Rimbley.

    "Competition within the league is extremely competitive and some of the best players in the province are members of league teams," Reichenbacher noted.

     Games are usually played on Sundays and Thursdays. Because the Olds College soccer pitch handles teams from the Olds Minor Soccer Association, the Olympia are requesting their home games be played on Sundays this season.

    "We're finding it extremely difficult to schedule games when minor soccer is still being played. By scheduling our home  games on Sunday, we may be able to solve the scheduling problem which always exists every season," Reichenbacher noted.

    Besides recruiting players, the Olympia is in a search for a coach this season and anyone  interested in becoming involved in men's soccer is asked to contact any member of the Olympia. Besides playing league games, the Olympia are trying to schedule  a couple of high calibre  tournaments during the season.

    "We have always had good support from the community and I hope this continues this season," concluded Reichenbacher.


Players get a kick out of soccer

By Barry Williams
February 13, 2003

 

    With an expectant registration of close to 400, Olds minor soccer players are getting a kick out of the game.

   A two-day registration blitz  held last week for the Olds Minor Soccer Association netted over  100 signed players eager to hit the soccer pitches throughout town.

    Throughout Canada, soccer has seen a dramatic increase in the number of players participating in the game and the Olds Minor Soccer Association is hoping to turn the frenzy for the sport into increased participation.

     Olds Minor Soccer Association president, Gaye Grenier, said  the increase in registration is mainly due to the exposure the game has received nationally with the success of the U-19 Women's World Cup Tournament  held in Edmonton last summer.

     "The World Cup tournament has generated interest amongst the female players," said Grenier.

     "The Olds Minor Soccer Association is expecting the number of girls registering for minor soccer to increase substantially this year," added Grenier.

     "Over the years, the opportunity for girls to become involved in the sport has definitely increased," noted Grenier.

     Last season the majority of teams registered for play had girls on the playing roster. This season, the Big Country Soccer League has introduced a girls division for the older age groups and Grenier is expecting Olds will field three teams consisting of female players. Besides Olds it is anticipated towns fielding female teams will be based out of Crossfield, Carstairs, Didsbury and Cremona. Younger aged female players will continue to play on male house league teams.

    For the past few years, the minor soccer executive has worked hard at acquiring more soccer pitches to play on. Games in the past have been played at O.R. Hedges Park, Deer Meadows School and Olds College. With the addition of a regulation soccer field built by the Olds Elks, scheduling should be somewhat easier this season.

    "Olds Minor soccer appreciates the support of the Elks Club in building this new field," Grenier said.

    Besides the Elks Club supporting minor soccer, the association has received financial assistance from various merchants throughout town and other service clubs.

    "The financial assistance we have received from the business community has kept our registration costs down," indicated Grenier, noting registrations fees for this season are the same as last year.

    "We have also received sponsorship for our uniforms," added Grenier.

     With the co-operation of Soccer Alberta, the Olds Minor Soccer Association has provided coaching clinics for those interested in coaching minor soccer or helping out. Grenier noted the soccer association is always looking for coaches and encourages interested coaches to attend the coaching clinics, which cover the basic fundamentals of the game.

    This season additional teams from Bowden will play in the Olds Minor soccer house league.

    Besides encouraging females to join soccer, the Vig Country soccer League will establish an age related developmental team which will focus on the skills of the game. Players from every league member team will have an opportunity to try out for this formatted  team.

    According to Grenier, soccer is a game requiring very little equipment and can be played for fun and enjoyment.

    "the philosophy of the Olds Minor Soccer Association has always been to provide the players  with an opportunity to play the game in a fun  and relaxed atmosphere," Grenier concluded.

      Registration will continue until the end of March and registration forms can be picked up at Timberline Source For Sports, Intersport and the Esso Gas Bar.

      League play is expected to commence during the first week  of April.


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