Letter: Ponoka Soccer proud of the sport’s growth in Canada

In response to an editorial regarding the World Cup coming to Canada

Dear Editor,

I am writing this letter in response to the Just An Observation opinion piece in last week’s Ponoka News (Wednesday, June 20, 2018) entitled A big deal for Canada and for soccer, but meh!

This past weekend, Ponoka was host to the 2018 Central Alberta Soccer Association provincial qualifiers tournament. Fifty-two teams from 10 communities in central Alberta came and played 78 games from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.

Eight berths for provincials tournaments were up for grabs. At the end of the weekend, Ponoka proudly owned two of those; one for our U13 boys team and the other for our U17 girls, (by comparison, Camrose, a city three times Ponoka’s size, held five, leaving one for the other eight communities represented).

This is an accomplish that should be celebrated. It is also an accomplishment that is directly related to the growth of soccer in our nation and the engaging leadership that has made that happen.

After decades of irrelevance, Canada is finally waking up to the most popular sport in the world. The showing of our women’s national team at the last two Summer Olympics and our success hosting the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

Leadership at Soccer Canada recognized the outdated model that kept our national program mired for years and through a change of culture and methods, we are finally beginning to develop world class players. On the smaller scale, Ponoka Minor Soccer too has tirelessly worked to change our culture.

As such, in the past eight years, PMSA has won three provincial titles as well as countless tournaments and league titles. All of this, from our national program’s growing resurgence to Ponoka’s own local success, should be celebrated with a “hurrah” rather than disregarded by a “meh!”

Mr. Dwyer, please don’t rain on Soccer Canada’s, and as such, Ponoka Minor Soccer’s parade. The announcement that Canada is finally being accepted onto the world stage of soccer is an incredible triumph!

Finally, contrary to Mr. Dwyer’s personal feelings, the growing population of people immigrating to Canada love soccer.

Hockey will always be Canada’s first love, but to not recognize the ever-increasing number of people in our country whose roots are in the only, truly international game seems a little shortsighted.

But that is…just an observation.

Rob McArthur

President Ponoka Minor Soccer Association

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