In an effort to get more kids playing the game and also provide an opportunity for those kids to develop better skills, the Prince Albert Youth Soccer Association decided to try something new this year.
Rather than have boys play against just against boys and girls play just against girls, the PAYSA opted to have co-ed leagues for its indoor season and from all accounts it was a resounding success.
“I think it wizened guys up on gender equality,” says Paul Joy, a parent of Reagan who played in the under-14 mixed competitive league. “The players showed improved play because of the co-ed.”
“It seems to work out good,” added Justin Dinney, a parent of Charisse in the under-14 mixed recreational division. “There are more kids here.”
That is good news to Sean Riggs, the PAYSA technical director who implemented the change.
“I’m from Saskatoon and generally there are three or four divisions in each age group down there,” explained Riggs. “The only way here to make enough teams was to have co-ed divisions.”
“Attendance seems a lot better and the kids on both sides are having a lot more fun,” added Riggs.
The indoor season wrapped up play last week with gold-medal games in all divisions. Registrations for the outdoor season started on Monday and will continue tonight from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Alfred Jenkins Field House.
Enrolment is generally pretty strong for the outdoor season, but as is the case with the indoor program there are other sports that compete for player participation. Riggs will continue to implement programs to help build the sport and provide the players with every opportunity to develop their skills. Most of all, making the game enjoyable for everyone is paramount regardless of what season the game is being played.