This weekend marked the end of the 2011 season of the Golden Minor Soccer Association.
A wind-up tournament and barbecue on Saturday saw players from age divisions U7 to U15 playing under sunny skies while parents and enthusiastic spectators cheered them on.
On Sunday, the U18 teams played their final season games under cloudy skies that kept them cool and wet.
Overall and overwhelmingly, the season was deemed a success.
Close to 380 children played GMSA soccer this year, beginning in mid-April.
During those nine weeks, over 50 Coaches endured cold, wet and rainy weather at least one day per week as they encouraged skill and game development at a fun, recreational level.
Player numbers have remained constant for several years and are limited by the number of fields and of days available for games.
This is the first year for GMSA without long time President Claire Drysdale and Secretary/Registrar Erin Foss.
“These two women were instrumental in building up the structure of GMSA so that we can follow simple steps to get players on the field”, said current president Joyce deBoer. “All past board members contributed to the future of an organization, but these ladies worked very hard for many years to make GMSA the healthy association that allows this many of Golden’s children to enjoy ‘the beautiful game’.”
This season, GMSA has worked on an experiment to add a U5 age division, permitting three and four year olds to play soccer-related games under the close supervision of their parents.
Coaches organized a special wind-up for the wee ones on their last day of play. Although a final review has yet to be made, the overall sense is that players and parents enjoyed the experience.
In the older age groups, games naturally become more competitive, even though the league operates at a recreational level. Game scores are not officially recorded, but the players themselves know which teams are winning. Referees are recruited and trained to help maintain the fun within the “rules of the game”.
Every year the volunteers who make GMSA happen have the daunting task of creating teams from the list of registrants.
For teams in the U15 and U18 groups, it is difficult to predict from year to year how players will have changed and how different combinations of players will work together.
This year, there was also the strange addition of a longer ski season that seemed to lead to more than the usual number of injuries on the slopes so teams had to be rebalanced a couple of times.
“Coaches are the heart of any minor sports group, and GMSA coaches are no exception”, said deBoer. “We offer accreditation courses and resources to the people who step up to coach but it can be an intimidating prospect to put yourself in front of parents who are watching their children. Over 50 people, including some high school students, took up the challenge. This year we are making an extra effort to work with these coaches to see what they feel would make the task more satisfying and effective.”
The GMSA Annual General Meeting is traditionally held in November when a full tally of numbers and reviews will be made. All current Board members stand down and a new Board and roster of volunteers is created.