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Ponoka Minor Soccer to host the Tier 3 U13 Boys and Girls Alberta Soccer provincials

Excitement is building as the Ponoka Minor Soccer Association gears up to host the Tier 3 U13 Boys and Girls Alberta Soccer Provincial Championship Aug. 11 to 13.

Excitement is building as the Ponoka Minor Soccer Association gears up to host the Tier 3 U13 Boys and Girls Alberta Soccer Provincial Championship Aug. 11 to 13.

“We are kind in a bit of a golden generation — our 2010s and everyone that has come up behind them — we changed our entire training model back when these kids were in U5,” said Rob McArthur.

McArthur is coach of the boys’ team and president of the association, while Lonny Behm coaches the girls’ team.

Meanwhile, the result of that significant shift in training has made for some pretty outstanding results.

“They’ve been leading the way,” he said. “It’s been well over two years since both of these teams have lost a game within our district (Central Alberta Soccer Association).”

That kind of success was also part of what led to hosting the upcoming championship.

“We are the smallest community that has ever hosted the Tier 3 provincials,” he said. “This is a prestigious tournament, so it’s a big deal for us.”

Visiting clubs include two from both Calgary and Edmonton with others heading to town from Medicine Hat and Lethbridge among others.

So as McArthur pointed out, to be part of the championship itself is an impressive feat, but so is hosting it and giving visiting club members and their supporters a top-notch sports experience.

Meanwhile, he couldn’t be happier with the efforts of the local players.

“Ponoka Minor Soccer has been producing great soccer players for years, and now we are also producing great teams,” he explained.

“We’ve had kids that are now playing at college and university. We’ve had players who are playing at the national level. So we’ve done well these past 15 years, and have built a really strong program.

“On my team, I’ve got six or seven boys who could be playing Tier 1 or Tier 2 in the city if they had that opportunity,” he said. “It’s exciting for us!

“I’m of the opinion that pound for pound, Ponoka Minor Soccer is the strongest soccer association in Alberta,” he said, adding that fueling that level of success has also been rock-solid community support.

“We’ve had insanely good community support for this. The outpouring of resources, donations, money, and people helping with volunteering — it’s been amazing,” he said.

That support also helps make events like the championship that much more memorable for visiting clubs.

“We can make this a great experience.”

Every player that shows up will be getting terrific swag bags packed with all kinds of great stuff.

“We’ve had so many donations for this,” he said. “Our goal is to ensure that every team and every player that came here leaves going, ‘Wow!’ We are well on the way to that.”

Meanwhile, the schedule is as follows: for the boys, game one runs Aug. 11 (6:30 p.m.) at Lucas Heights West. Game two runs on Aug. 12 (9:45 a.m.) at Lucas Heights East and their third match-up goes on Aug. 12 (3 p.m.) also at Lucas Heights East.

The girls begin Aug. 11 at 4:30 p.m. at Ponoka Secondary Campus (PSC).

Game two runs on Aug. 12 (9:45 a.m.) also at PSC and game three is slated for Aug. 12 (4:45 p.m.) at Lucas Heights East.

McArthur said that the results from these games will determine the schedule on Sunday.

The full schedule with results and standings can be found at

In the meantime, new soccer players are always welcome to sign up, said McArthur, who started coaching in 2003 and has served as the association’s president for 12 years.

“Anybody can play,” he said, adding that it’s amazing to see how these young players grow and flourish in the sport and just in overall confidence.

For the latest details about the Ponoka Minor Soccer Association, follow them on Facebook.

Mark Weber

About the Author: Mark Weber

I've been a part of the Black Press Media family for about a dozen years now, with stints at the Red Deer Express, the Stettler Independent, and now the Lacombe Express.
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