Fall has arrived, and with it, the start of soccer season. For the second year, players will have the opportunity to continue playing through the spring season, thanks to the success of both sessions last year.
The Alberni Valley Youth Soccer Association strives to offer teams for all ages, but just as important, the chance to develop skills during bi-weekly training.
For House teams, all practices and games are played in town.
League chairperson Gaelle Frey said the motto of the association is to promote “soccer for life” and do so by making it fun for young children.
“We want to keep them healthy,” Frey said. “Our end goal is to create an environment of development for those who want to go on to Rep (teams). In House, the kids love to just kick the ball around, socialize, hang out with friends and play with their teams.”
This year, Rep teams include female U15 and male U14 and a U12 is currently in the works for next year. Travis Cross has a roster of 18 players with whom he is working on skill development.
“He is starting them the year before,” said Frey.
“He is getting them interested and we hope to have the numbers for a team and keep them developing through the years.”
There are no prerequisites nor tryouts for House league, but Rep players take part in tryouts in May with Merriman Development and must be on a House team as well.
“It is a higher level of expectations and commitment,” Frey said. “And they must want to travel.”
Port Alberni teams play with communities on the upper Island, including Oceanside, Nanaimo, Campbell River, Powell River and Gabriola Island.
Frey said the club feeds the four tiers of soccer. Tier 4 is House, while one through three are Rep leagues. Tier 3 includes Rep in the Alberni Valley but there are some local players who play with Tier 2 out of Nanaimo and Comox. Tier 1 is province-wide for U14-18 out of Victoria.
As part of the registration, players can take part in free clinics every two weeks.
“Coaches from Merriman come over every second Wednesday for development for both House and Rep, as well as coaches,” Frey said. “They are keen on the development of players.”
The spring season allows players to have a longer season and also gives hockey players the opportunity to play dual sports.
“It was very successful last year because an interested parent took the reigns,” Frey said. “We’re looking forward to doing it again this year.”
Typically an affordable sport for kids, Alberni Valley Youth Soccer (AVYSA) provides uniforms and socks and can help families who may not be able to afford registration.
The season started on Sept. 24; anyone wanting information on late registration should contact the office at 250-723-0333.