SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Dust has yet to settle as the kick-off to the summer soccer season slides on to the turf at the Eric Johnston Field, the Credit Union grass pitch, including the Three Oaks Senior High School field in Summerside, with 29 teams competing to be crowned champion of the weekend tournament.
“This is small field soccer. For the under-13 teams it’s nine players versus nine, and there is an offside line on the field. Whereas the under-11 soccer teams there’s no offside, but there is a retreat line, so it’s very similar to the full field soccer game with just a few changes,” explained Jim Fisher, communications director for Summerside United Soccer Club.
The game of soccer, more commonly referred to as “football” outside of Canada and the United States, is traditionally built around teams of 11 players moving a soccer ball up and down a field in an attempt to score goals.
“You need speed and agility,” said Summerside player Ryland Hearn, aged 10. She added, “I felt pretty amazing when I scored two goals for my team last night (Friday).”
Players can use their feet, knees, head and chest to control and advance the ball on the field.
“It’s competitive and it’s good for the U-11 because during the season they don’t have playoffs or provincials and the kids like to be able to do as well as they can,” acknowledged Fisher.
Summerside United Soccer Club hosted the annual soccer tournament.
Play kicked off on Friday afternoon, and continued through until the medal games on Sunday.
Divisions included both boys and girls at the under-13 Premier and First Division levels, as well as the under-11 play that featured both boys and girls.
“I’m so happy the weather is nice so far because we’ve had this tournament in the past (running since 2011) and battled through rain, thunder and lightning, and we hope everyone has a really good time,” commented Fisher.
Teams came from across P.E.I., including one from Fredericton kick off the season.
“We want them to have fun, work hard to become better players and have good sportsmanship skills,” said Brenda Gavin, assistant coach for ‘Summerside Team One,’ u-11.
“It gets them outside and active throughout the summer,” she continued. “Our own team were in four tournaments this summer, this is our second one for the season and we will have two more in August. We have a game each week, as well as practice, so it’s a nice way to keep players active and healthy.
“I have a couple of girls on the team who are new and are amazing at the game. They have speed, drive that they want to be in the play, get goals, and help the team. It’s nice to see at this age because our youngest player nine and oldest 11.”
Gavin concluded, “Most of our coaches are volunteers, and we are unusually short, so if you know anything about the sport – whether it’s coaching, refereeing or whatever you can, it’s nice to have more people on board and giving back to their community.”