Young soccer players got to learn the ins and outs of the beautiful game from some of the province’s top coaches Saturday at the first Grassroots Soccer Festival for inner city kids.
The festival, held at the University of Winnipeg’s RecPlex Soccer Facility, aimed to provide a barrier-free chance for kids of all ability levels to get out and show off their skills on the pitch.
In all, just over 80 kids signed up to take part in the free event.
“We thought this would be a great opportunity to have an event — a festival — in the inner city where we can reach all kinds of kids that my not have access to sports programs on a regular basis,” explained Carolyn Trono from the Newcomer Sport Academy, who organized the event with the Manitoba Soccer Association and the Spence Neighbourhood Association.
The festival was run by licensed coaches who worked with the kids to improve their games.
While the Manitoba Soccer Association holds the festivals throughout the province, this is the first time one’s been offered in the inner city, said Trono.
Scott Ansell, grassroots manager of the Manitoba Soccer Association, said the events give the association the chance to spot up and coming talent for its higher level programs.
He said the association takes a holistic approach to picking out young players.
“We look at not just what kind of talent that you have, we look at your social and mental makeup as well,” he explained.
“So do you have a passion for the game, do you love soccer, what are you doing when no one’s looking? Are you practicing?
“And that’s what we can really see in these kids, that they’re playing soccer 24/7.”
Ansell said there was a “whole array” of different ability levels at the event Saturday and kids were split into different skill and age groups to make sure everyone got the chance to play.
He said it was good to see kids who might not otherwise have the chance to enjoy the game.
“There’s a lot of barriers into our sport and into many organized sport — finances is one of them and transport is another,” he said.
“So providing a program that actually… doesn’t cost any money, hopefully we can include as many kids as possible.”
Published at Sat, 11 Aug 2018 22:23:23 -0400