Author Topic: Women's soccer still growing  (Read 785 times)

Offline David

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Women's soccer still growing
« on: May 24, 2007, 10:53:31 AM »
Two is not enough for the Prince George Women's Soccer Association.

A little more than a year after the league built its own two-field facility at Michelle Lamarche Field, it appears a third field is needed.

Four new teams have brought the league total to 25, and that means a crowded slate of games this season, even with a reduced schedule, and that has the PGWSA looking west to expand its boundaries.

"This is only our second season on the new field and we're already thinking we'll have to expand, we need the space," said PGWSA president Shona Talbot.

"Just four years ago (when the new fields were cleared and planted) we only had 16 teams, so we've gained nine teams in four years. It's crazy."

Talbot is looking into the option of developing on the vacant parcel of land adjacent to the current field.

"I've been talking to Dave McWalter at L&M Engineering -- he's the one who really helped us with our fields last time -- and he's looking into our options to grow," said Talbot. "It's really in the preliminary stages."

Talbot predicts the two existing fields are going to take a beating, despite the league decision to drop from a 21-game schedule to 18 games per team.

"We used to play four nights a week, now we play Monday to Friday, two games per field, so they don't get a break unless it's a long weekend," Talbot said. "A lot of people have asked why (they're playing fewer games) but unless they want to play Sundays, which they don't, or play after Labour Day, we just don't have the room."

Two new Division 1 teams and two masters teams have been added to the PGWSA slate. There are seven Division 1 teams, up from five last year. Last year's Division 2 champions, Chan Foucher Lefebvre, have split into two teams to form a new Division 1 team, L & M Engineering. There's also two under-16 teams from Prince George Youth Soccer Association joining the U-18s to play in the top division. Last year there was only one U-16 team.

"In the past three or four years we haven't had a lot of younger players joining out of the house league or from the all-stars, who would go away to school or just not play for a few years. This year we have a lot moving in.

"There is a lot of talent in that under-16 age group this year so they figure they could put two teams in that they figure can compete. It's been pretty even so far (two weeks into the schedule) with a lot of ties and one-goal games."

Divisions 2 and 3 have seven teams each, while the over-30 masters division has four teams. This marks the second season for the masters division, where most of last year's growth in the league was concentrated.

"We looked at our numbers and more than half of the women were over 30, so we thought the over-30 division was a good idea," said Talbot. "We're starting with four teams and hopefully it'll grow. Every other league we looked at that has a masters division, it's really taken off."

Talbot is aware of the plight of youth soccer, which is at capacity and can't take any more players, but there's not much the PGWSA can do to fix that problem.

"Some of the girls who are supposed to be playing on the U-18s are playing in the house league and on the waiting list and they want to know if they can play with us.," Talbot said. "But I don't think we can take another team until we get at least one new field."

The novice division introduced last year is geared toward new players or those who haven't seen the field for a few years, and includes skills clinics. Game nights are Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Fridays.

The Michelle Lamarche seven-a-side tournament set for June 16-17 will include competitive and recreational divisions. The Coronita’s Coed 7-a-Side Revival tournament is planned for July 14-15.