Club’s end means new future for Haliburton soccer
By Darren Lum
Soccer in Haliburton this summer isn’t happening.
Part of it is because of COVID-19 and part of it is the end of the Haliburton Soccer Club, which was due in part to the organization running its course.
As of midnight on May 31, the Haliburton Soccer Club officially ended.
In an email sent to club members and an online post on their website, the club said, “COVID-19 wasn’t the cause of the long overdue change; but it was the catalyst. The pandemic will influence the new formations; so please be patient. It has been our great pleasure to serve and befriend Haliburton’s large group of local and visiting soccer enthusiasts for two decades. Thanks for all the fond memories and especially the fun!” Registered players for the 2020-2021 season were expected to receive a refund.
Soccer may be cancelled for this summer like other programming during this health crisis, but there is hope for indoor soccer for adults this coming autumn/winter and outdoor soccer next summer for adults and children.
Past club executive members Chris Carere and Andrea Mueller are leading the charge for the next chapter of soccer in the area. Carere has committed to facilitate adult soccer while Mueller is looking to help with organize the youth soccer.
Carere’s passion for soccer wouldn’t let her give up on her love.
“I love soccer. And I know there are some other people out there who also love playing soccer. It’s twofold for me. When I heard Andrea was willing to try and do something with the kids I felt a lot better because I grew up playing soccer. I’ve played for 40 odd some years and I feel really bad if the kids don’t get a chance to play in our area. Having coached the kids here for a few years, there is a lot of talent coming up through there and even for people that just want to get out and have fun, it’s a great sport,” she said.
The adult soccer year was broken into four time periods, including the pick-up indoor soccer offering, which was held from October to April. There was pick-up outdoor from May to the end of June, then an official league with teams and team shirts from July to August, followed by another pick-up soccer period starting in September until it was too dark to play. All outdoor games were held at the Gary G. Brohman Athletic Field last year. Carere, whose previous soccer administration experience includes being a coaching co-ordinator for adult soccer for years in Acton, prefers it to run it like a pick-up night.
“If possible, we’re going to rent the school [fields] as usual under their insurance because buying insurance for ourselves is going to be cost prohibitive, I think. Just go under their insurance ... and run it like the local basketball, pickleball [offerings] and that kind of thing, which seemed to have a lot more success than a formal group,” she said.
She adds the enforcement of rules will be left to players, as a referee was not used for the official league last year and it worked well, as it does elsewhere she has played.
Registration fees at this time are unknown because booking costs are unknown, as the rental fee structure is not available through the school board.
Mueller, who is the recreation co-ordinator for Dysart, said it was important to keep youth soccer going because it's a great sport for children of a variety of ages, encouraging physical fitness and development, but it is also accessible due to it’s low cost and the relative simple co-ordination required for very young children when compared to technical sports such as baseball and basketball.
She is interested in convincing the township to get involved with offering the eight-week recreational based programming for players from ages four (as of December) to 16 during the week at dusk, as there are benefits such as financial support to help with the purchase of equipment and a township staff member to assist her with being present each night. Equipment is needed because the defunct soccer club operated under the promise they would give its money and equipment to the three elementary schools in the area, which was to be divided among them. This is expected to be decided by the school board. Available township funds for the programming won’t be discussed until this November, she said.
Part of Carere’s effort will be to raise the profile of soccer in Haliburton. This will include regular advertisements in local media about when pick-up will be held.
“Maybe people don’t know about soccer or maybe it was the format of playing. For me too running under the Haliburton Soccer Club there was a lot more rules and regulation and communication was a little bit wonky. I was hoping to simplify and say, ‘Please, just come out and play,’ she said.
Carere welcomes feedback and direction from the pubilc as she’s open-minded about the way things will be structured, the venue and how to draw more people. Email her at email@example.com