Thanks to an enthusiastic group of volunteers who are driving the formation of new teams, soccer in Kitimat and Kitamaat Village is making a comeback after a lull.
Men’s team organizer Paul Gray said his five-year mission to bring soccer back to Kitimat paid off last year with a big turnout for senior men’s soccer.
“We had enough for two senior teams during our tournament. Our long-term goal is to start up a senior men’s league here in town,” said Gray.
He said the organizers are busy working at having soccer games once a week.
“For our local tournament this year we hope to add a youth component. Watching and being a part of these tournaments with your own eyes is exciting and gains lots of interest,” said Gray.
The Haisla Lightning Women’s team has also been busy, practising two to three times a week.
“We played against the Mount Elizabeth Middle Secondary School girls’ team three times this season already,” said team organizer Desiree Earl.
The MEMSS girls won two of the three games, Lightning winning one.
“We invite anyone interested in playing in tournaments on weekends out of town to contact us. There is lots of room for team growth,” said Earl.
Women’s team organizer Chantelle Gutierrez said it’s exciting to see all the women out there playing again.
“I hope to see soccer in Kitimat expand and to see new faces – even to one day have a league again,” said Gutierrez.
Women’s team coach Hoss Woods said he enjoys coaching the women’s team.
“My main reason for coaching is to bring soccer back to Kitimat and Kitamaat Village,” said Woods.
Earl said the growth in soccer wouldn’t be possible without their sponsors like Al MacFarlane from Western Industrial Contractors who sponsored two sets of brand new jerseys.
Daudette Creek Construction stepped in to sponsor jerseys for a brand new team, People of the Snow – the team has been hard at work preparing for upcoming tournaments.
Last year a competition was held to come up with a logo for Lightning – Geraldine Wilson-Kane’s design was chosen through a vote and it will be on the front of their jerseys when they compete this year.
The next tournament will be the Kitwanga May long weekend tournament from May 17 to 20 – Kitamaat Village will be fielding the men’s Haisla Braves and both women’s teams, Lightning and People of the Snow.