Year-round soccer training has arrived in Squamish, with a pair of familiar faces at the head of the program.
Former Quest University men’s head coach Jonas Worth and established Squamish Youth Soccer Association (SYSA) head coach Tanya Babuin have come together to form the Pelada Soccer Academy.
Pelada is a Brazilian term that means pick-up soccer in any location with any number of players and Worth said that type of fun approach to the game is exactly what Pelada will be all about.
“I had been planning this academy throughout the summer after my travels to Brazil,” he said. “And the parting of ways with Quest spurred me into action. What I saw in Squamish as the former technical director for the SYSA was that we had all these great soccer players but we didn’t have any full-time development programs in town. We just had a lot of people coming in from out of town.”
Worth said the academy is designed to enhance the existing soccer structure in Squamish.
“It will be a full-time development program based entirely in Squamish that runs as a complement to the travel and house team schedules,” he said. “We’re starting in January with out futsal [indoor soccer] program, which is perfect for all the kids in house leagues because they take a break in December, January and February. We hope to fill that gap with indoor soccer and then move on to camps and other programs in the spring, summer and fall.”
He said he hopes Pelada will encourage people to remain in Squamish to enhance their soccer skills.
“I’m quite excited because this is the beginning and I think the program has a lot of potential to provide a developmental program in town and save people the cost of driving to the city,” he said. “Most soccer programs in the Lower Mainland you get to practice two days a week with your team and there’s usually an academy built into the club system. We’re trying to fill that void.”
Worth said futsal is a soccer developmental tool used all over the globe and he’s excited to bring it to Squamish.
“The futsal program is key to Pelada,” he said. “Players learn skills that they won’t get just playing outdoor soccer. It’s something I believe massively in and I learned so much about it when I went to Brazil. B.C. is just starting to embrace it, whereas Ontario and Quebec already have lots of futsal programs. It’s the perfect sport for a town covered in snow for a couple of months.”
Also on staff will be several former and current Kermodes soccer players, coaches and other local and professional contacts that Worth has developed over his years in the sport.
“This town is soccer hungry and we hope to be a complement,” Worth added.
For details on the academy, visit www.peladasoccer.ca.