It may still be winter, but it’s already time to start thinking about soccer! If you have kids and have moved to a new neighbourhood, minor soccer is a great way to get to know the people and places in your community.
My kids have several years of soccer under their belts by now, and every year that they play I find myself both anticipating and dreading the season. I love to see them run, play, develop skills, and make friends. But I also know that soccer season is crazy! Community soccer may not be quite as intense as club soccer, but it still takes a family commitment. And that is also one of the great things about it. We spend a few evenings a week together out in the fresh air (freezing in the first weeks of the season, and getting sunburned by the time things wrap up in June).
Registration for Edmonton’s community soccer programs began at the beginning on February and can be completed online. Register soon, since they apparently start waitlists in March. Once your registration is complete, you will be directed to attend one of your community’s sessions to confirm your child’s date of birth and address. Visit The Edmonton Minor Soccer Association to find your community and register. If your child has friends in the community who are also playing soccer, you can request they be on the same team, which makes the season much more fun.
Once soccer season starts, you’ll want to show up prepared. First, find out whether your child needs to bring a ball to games and practices. After moving to a new neighbourhood from an area that provided balls to the teams, we showed up to the first practice of the season without a ball and our daughter had to share someone else’s.
Bring water! When it’s not freezing or raining, soccer fields are hot and dusty. Either way, the kids will need plenty of water—but maybe not too much, since most fields do not have bathrooms available!
Your team may decide to do group snacks, in which case you’ll likely be assigned dates to bring a snack for the team. If not, you can bring a snack for your child each time. For younger kids, snack time is the best part of soccer!
If it’s cold, bundle up. Windy/rainy games are brutal! Kids can usually wear a jacket or sweater under their jerseys, along with gloves and a hat. Don’t be afraid of overdressing. You can always take off a layer if necessary, but you don’t want to be stuck out there without adequate warmth when it’s spitting icy rain with gusting wind.
The latter half of the season can be hot and sunny. Or muggy and wet. So keep an eye on the forecast and be sure to bring sunglasses, hats, sunscreen, bug spray, or umbrellas as required.
Unless you particularly enjoy standing around for an hour or more, or plan to go for a run around the field during the game, bring something to sit on. A folding chair or a picnic blanket will work. I found the blanket was best when I had a younger child with me, since I didn’t want to either carry multiple chairs or have a bored two-year-old squirm on my lap.
Speaking of other kids, you’ll want to bring something for them to do. An extra soccer ball or a Frisbee kept my son entertained during his sister’s games for years. My daughter prefers to bring a book to read.
Soccer season can really mess with your weekday evening routine. It’s often hard to fit supper between school and work and an early game. Give yourself permission to relax. Have food on hand that’s easy to eat on the go, and give yourself grace if you have to make a fast food run on the craziest days.
As hectic as the eight or so weeks of soccer can be, expect to have fun, build friendships, and enjoy being an active family.