A jump of 18 per cent in registration numbers will see more kids than ever playing soccer locally this season at all age levels.

Soccer continues strong growth in Ponoka

The strength of Ponoka Soccer is showing through as its player numbers climb.

The strength of the local soccer association is showing through as its player numbers climb.

Ponoka Minor Soccer Association president Rob McArthur explained the group’s initial registration night on Feb. 28 saw an 18 per cent rise across all age categories. That represents a total of 345 kids playing soccer this coming season in Ponoka.

“This comes on the heels of hosting both U18 provincials last year and both local teams winning,” he said. “Having the new Lucas Heights fields and the momentum from provincials I think helped.”

He added the affordability and reasonable schedule of games versus travel, even for the competitive level squads, also factor into more kids getting into the game.

Despite the success, there is one thing the association wants to improve and that’s communicating with its membership.

“We have a really strong, healthy and united board that are really working hard with each other and on the same page,” McArthur stated.

“However, many parents don’t realize or are not aware of the amount of work the board and volunteers put in so we are going to be putting out a monthly newsletter.”

The newsletter will outline board and other association activities as way of helping the membership better appreciate all that is being done on behalf of the players. McArthur added it’s a way of the board being accountable to the members as well.

Another big event

After being one of the smallest communities to hold a pair of provincial championships on the same weekend, Ponoka will see another test of its organizational skills as the association will play host to the 2017 Central Alberta Soccer Association (CASA) Tier 4 Rural provincial qualification tournament for all levels.

The tournament will take place June 23 to 25 and feature 32 teams and around 350 players from 12 communities scattered across the central region of the province. According to McArthur, the tournament will see every pitch in town used pretty much from morning until sunset over the weekend to determine the CASA representatives for provincials.

Registration still open

McArthur explained just because the association has seen a jump in numbers doesn’t mean more children aren’t welcome to sign up to play.

Registrations will continue to be accepted until the end of March with forms available for pick up and drop off at the Ponoka Aquaplex. For more information, parents are requested to head to www.ponokasoccer.ca and click on the registration link or send an email to registrar@ponokasoccer.ca.