The Slave Lake Minor Soccer Association will not have a winter indoor season in 2020-21. In a normal year, this would be November to December and February to March.
With COVID-19 restrictions, kids are encouraged to only be part of one sports cohort, says new association president Gabriel ‘Gabi’ Angelescu. However, they can attend other types of cohorts. In September, when the soccer board had to make its decision about whether to hold an indoor season, this was not clear.
“As president, I was ready,” he says, “but we had a board meeting in September. The majority voted not to take the chance.”
In general, the indoor winter soccer season has fewer kids, says Angelescu. The outdoor season usually has between 160 to 220 kids. Registration is in April, and the season is May and June. This year, it couldn’t run because the announcement for Phase 2 outdoor sports wasn’t made until mid-June. The association polled parents to see if there was interest in a July and August season, but most people weren’t interested.
This year off from soccer comes after a disappointing 2019.
“We had quite low registrations when COVID started (which was the end of the 2019 indoor season),” says Angelescu. Financially, the group is struggling. It lost money last year and hasn’t had any income this year. Back in March, it cancelled the last few weeks of the indoor season, because of COVID-19. By the time outdoor sports were allowed in the summer, it was too late for soccer.
“We (Slave Lake soccer) have to have a season next year,” says Angelescu. “We still have money to survive a year, but no more.”
The group has some fixed expenses: banking, storage, website, and insurance, etc. The board has been revamping the association’s bylaws and preparing for next year. In the next while, the board will also be looking for sponsors and fundraising.
Angelescu has been involved with the association since after the 2011 Slave Lake wildfire.
At one point before the fire, soccer was popular in Slave Lake, he says, but “this is just a story, I’ve heard.” He hopes to make it popular once again, with a focus on keeping the fees low, but offering good quality coaching. He’d also like to have a competitive U13 and U17 in the summer season. These teams would continue practicing in July and August and compete in tournaments.