Facility for all season - Quesnel Observer

Quesnel Youth Soccer Association is a multi-functional organization that runs both the indoor and outdoor soccer leagues and the facility itself – the largest artificial free turf arena in British Columbia. A few years ago, Quesnel youth soccer was in a developmental phase as it offered, “a little bit of something for everyone,” head coach Paulette Smith said. At that time, the league consisted of 600-800 athletes and was not equipped to assist skillful players in advancing to the next level. In the past five years, QYSA has grown in leaps and bounds, paving the way for soccer development in the North. QYSA Executive Director Allan Shedlock’s primary objective is to improve communication and develop programs that are user friendly. The Quesnel organization was the first District Development Centre founded in the Northern Interior. DDC is a provincial program established to formulate a B.C.-wide development strategy as it relates to coaches, players and referees within the province. Although QYSA has a small infrastructure, it is having its most productive year to date, due to the commitment and dedication of its employees and volunteers. QYSA is composed of a highly cohesive team that maintains a high standard as they aim to improve pre-existing programs while increasing productivity. “Paulette Smith is an unsung hero in the QYSA. All that she has done for the organization is truly amazing,” Shedlock said. With a Provincial B certificate, Smith is a highly qualified soccer coach in Quesnel; her accolades are numerous yet her greatest accomplishment is facilitating the development of players of all abilities. “Every player wants to improve; enabling each player to get better as their soccer skills develop, now that’s how I define success,” she said. Quesnel is faced with a myriad of challenges such as a weakened economy and decreased enrolment at school. Yet QYSA has surpassed those obstacles as the organization continues to grow with registration rates increasing annually. Shedlock is pleased with membership, as one in three youth in Quesnel are currently involved with the youth soccer program. Soccer is a cost-effective sport that requires minimal equipment. The QYSA prices are: General enrolment in the 16-week season is variable, as players may choose to practice once or twice a week. Players who choose to practice once a week in addition to games pay $165, while players that choose to practice twice a week pay $195. Programs such as ‘jump start’ are also available which provide funding for families that are financially challenged. With soccer their are no barriers and no hierarchies. Shedlock is pleased to see the excitement of the players as they provide more input into the league. League members are taking a more active role and giving back to the organization as more than 50 per cent of athletes who signed up to play also signed up to coach. Between fall and winter, the facility is heavily booked; however, opportunities arise for other sport groups to book the facility in spring and summer. QYSA is highly accessible and welcomes diverse athletic groups interested in utilizing the facility. The organization is very accommodating and is willing to adapt the complex to suit the needs of other sports teams and activities. QYSA’s approach is pragmatic, as they create programs that suit the specific needs of the community. Currently, the organization is developing a goaltending clinic and a Futsal team due to the inclusion of the sport in the 2009 B.C Winter Games. Futsal is a skills game played indoors on a hard court surface that utilizes a smaller, weighted soccer ball. see PAGE A30 This quick, challenging game improves ball handling skills will emphasizing improvisation, technique and creativity. Over the years, Quesnel youth soccer has included several players who have achieved a high degree of success at both the provincial and national level. Adrian Bears is currently a U21 prospect for the Vancouver Whitecaps. “He is a very coachable athlete that plays with heart, always giving 110 per cent,” Smith said. QYSA was supportive of his relocation to the Lower Mainland, as they were instrumental in raising necessary funds need for him to join the Burnaby school program. Justin Tiede is another successful Quesnel soccer player who now plays for South Lake, the second best club side in South Carolina. One of his biggest assets is his humble nature and the fact he makes no assumptions and takes nothing for granted, Smith said. “He really pushes himself in order to take his game to the next level,” she added. Two local players, Kyra Teetzen and Lane Vanderwetering were also selected to play in prospect evaluation camps in the Lower Mainland. The camp is an eye-opening experience that allows players to gauge how they fair on a provincial level. A future goal of the QYSA is to develop a Northern Region League that would create a more competitive environment where Northern rep teams could play against each other more frequently. In addition, the organization is planning a coaching clinic next spring with Allan Churchyard who heads the Premier Soccer Experiences Program which provides first-rate soccer programs to British Columbia soccer players and coaches. May 3-4 QYSA will host Whitecaps staff and players when they travel to Quesnel to head a youth training camp. This skills camp will give players of all abilities the opportunity to experience the Whitecaps professional training environment. Concurrently, the Whitecaps staff will work in conjunction with the QYSA to identify and evaluate talented players that have the potential to play in the Whitecaps youth system. For information regarding the QYSA contact Shedlock at 250-992-3332.