The Great White Sharks celebrate the end of the Alberni Athletics Soccer Club season during the wrapup parade on March 5, 2022 (AMY ANAKA PHOTO)

The Great White Sharks celebrate the end of the Alberni Athletics Soccer Club season during the wrapup parade on March 5, 2022 (AMY ANAKA PHOTO)

Alberni Athletics celebrate successful soccer season

COVID-19 restrictions over the last two years saw some limitations

The Alberni Athletics Soccer Club finished the 2021-22 season with a sunny Soccer Day on March 5.

“It felt like an event, one that we haven’t been able to enjoy in a few years because of the pandemic,” said club vice-president Erik Waldriff.

COVID-19 restrictions over the last two years saw some limitations for players and travelling teams, but the 2021-22 season saw registration numbers of more than 500—a number the club hasn’t seen in many years.

“The club was still able to provide a program that gave kids a healthy outlet and game play as much as possible and I am proud of how our players, parents and volunteers responded,” said club secretary and coach Melissa Cross.

Soccer Saturdays saw its house program provide game play to age divisions from U5 to U13, as well as Friday night games for the U14+ division. Other positive additions include the hiring of lead coaches for several divisions, academy and girls only nights, and a development stream.

“Our club is always striving to provide an environment to have the most kids learning and playing the game of soccer as possible,” said club technical director Travis Cross. “Reinvigorating the program with new ideas while keeping the core foundations and principles of the sport is the best way to provide a fun learning environment for the athletes. We have a great group of volunteers who are willing to take on the philosophies of our program and it is paying off based on the positive feedback of parents and players, as well as the results on the field.”

The Athletics Development Soccer Program trains keen soccer players from ages U9-11. The program has grown in numbers over the years and this year saw upwards of 60 players training weekly throughout the year to develop their skills in a more rigorous environment.

“This program is integral for both individual players and our club in competing in the Upper Island competitive rep leagues,” said Waldriff. “It provides our players with the foundational soccer skills and training mindset they will need to become successful soccer players.”

In addition to the development stream, the 2021-22 season saw four travelling rep teams competing and representing the community against other Upper Island teams. The veteran U15/16 members of the club went 10-2-1 during their regular season and were a winning force in the Upper Island.

After a two-year hiatus, AASC had female rep team representation with a U12/13 girls team, as well as a U14 and U12/13 boys team.

Long-term goals like a clubhouse and multiple training facilities, as well as a continued increase in participation is something the association would love to see for all current and future soccer players.

Registration for the 2022-23 season is now open. More information about the Alberni Athletics Soccer Club can be found by visiting www.avsoccer.com or the AASC Facebook page, or by emailing avsoccer@telus.net.

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