Ladysmith will host soccer Mini World Cup

The Mid-Island Soccer Club will host the Mini World Cup in Ladysmith this May, and many volunteers will be needed.

This May, budding young soccer players will get their kicks at Ladysmith’s Forrest Field, as the Mid-Island Soccer Club hosts  the 2012 Mini World Cup May 12-13.

The Mini World Cup is an annual event held for U8-U11 soccer teams across Vancouver Island and the Mainland. The teams are divided into groups which represent countries rather than individual teams, to keep competitiveness to a minimum.

Organizers say last year’s event in Campbell River drew in 80 teams, and they are working towards a better turnout for this year’s Cup.

“It’s a positive event to hold in our community; it brings attention to Ladysmith and what it offers,” said Willow Hartig, registrar for the Mid-Isle Soccer Club. “We’re hoping that being that we are in a central mid-Island location, it will make it easier for some of the teams that in the past may not have been able to make it.”

Hosting the Cup has been a long-time dream come true for the club, which, until the completion of Forrest Field, did not have the facilities to host such a large event. A number of other local soccer fields will be host to games during the event.

“Hosting the Mini World Cup gives us the opportunity to get word out that the Mid-Isle Soccer Club does exist and we are doing everything in our ability to get people to see that not only is soccer a fun sport to be a part of, but there are so many other positive aspects of soccer such as healthy living, team spirit, responsibility, self-confidence and good sportsmanship, just to name a few,” Hartig said.

“Instilling a lifelong passion for the sport of soccer is most important, so with the Mini World Cup, it gives us the opportunity to show all these young players, regardless of where they are from, that soccer is fun and continue to instill a desire in them to practise and work hard to succeed and reach their goals.”

The Mid-Isle Soccer Club is made up of U6-U18 teams from Ladysmith to Parksville and includes Gabriola, focusing on the development of its players.

“We are very fortunate to have the Merrimans attend the Forrest Field Turf Monday nights to provide their instrumental development training sessions for our players — and we provided these at no cost to our players because we see the benefits,” Hartig said.

Ladysmith’s local soccer teams are seeing much success, with the U14/15 Cedar Hurricanes and Ladysmith 49ers at the two top positions in their league. The Ladysmith Blue Lightning U16-U18 Girls team also leads its division and is finding success despite facing challenges of being short players.

“These teams should feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment,” Hartig said. “We also have several other teams that have continued to work hard and improve over the season and are looking fantastic out there on the turf.”

Hartig said early registration is now being accepted for any local youths aged six-18 interested in playing soccer.

Volunteers are also needed to help out with the Mini World Cup and are encouraged to contact the club as soon as possible.

Teams can now register for the Cup at www.midislesoccer.com, and the club plans to further develop the website content to promote local products and services for the influx of visitors that will be coming to town.

“With teams traveling to Ladysmith for this two-day event, we anticipate it will bring a big boost of support to our local businesses, and we look forward to working with these businesses to ensure visitors know exactly what Ladysmith has to offer and can easily make plans to do so,” Hartig said. “We encourage local businesses to support and plan for this exciting community event and welcome any support they may be able to offer us.”

More information on registration and the 2012 Mini World Cup can be found at www.midislesoccer.com.

Inquiries can be directed to miniworldcup2012@yahoo.ca.