Squamish youth soccer registration numbers drop

Organizers renewing calls for enrolment

The Squamish Youth Soccer Association is renewing their call for enrolment this year, as registrations are falling short.

Association president Tim Sjogren says they're trying to figure out why enrolment rates have decreased substantially this year.

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"We're not 100 per cent sure what's going with registration — we just know that it's low," said Sjogren. "So, what's the cause of that?"

Sjogren said on Aug. 23 registrations for the association's house league were about 50 per cent of what it was the previous year.

The house league program typically involves younger players and stay inside Squamish. A decline has been observed in all ages and genders of that program.

The age categories for the house league are under-six, under-eight, under-10 and under-12.

The numbers are healthy for the select and development teams, which compete against teams from outside town, Sjogren said.

He said the drop probably isn't for lack of athleticism in Squamish, which is a community where physical activity is a mantra for many.

Nor does he think it's because of price — soccer is easily one of the more affordable sports in Squamish, compared with activities like climbing or mountain biking, which require steep investments in equipment.

"I think one of the things is... people have got a lot of options now in Squamish," said Sjogren. "And that's been the case for the last couple years — we've seen the numbers drop the last few years."

Aside from more extracurricular activities to choose from, there could also be other factors, such as dropping the early bird rate this year, and even wildlife concerns.

He noted some people have talked about goose feces on the field. It's an issue they've had in the past, but people may be more sensitive to it nowadays.

One possible solution Sjogren is considering is branding soccer as a sport that can serve as an athletic foundation for other activities.

Agility, speed, fitness and co-ordination are things soccer can provide, he noted.

"You can't be a good mountain biker if you don't have good balance and good fitness," Sjogren said.

Go to www.squamishsoccer.ca to register or for more information.

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