Rick StiebelThe Chronicle
The Mid-Isle Soccer Club has added new opportunities for older players to continue playing the game they love.
The addition of a Division 3 men’s team this year has been well received, said Mike Rankin, vice president of Mid-Isle Soccer Club.
“We’re pretty excited about that,” said Rankin, who has been coaching since 2003. “In years past there wasn’t anything here for kids after they turned 18. Now local players can aspire to do something beyond youth soccer.”
That follows on the heels of the addition of a U-18 team last year that plays in the Vancouver island Soccer League.
“That’s also been a huge success,” Rankin said. “They went undefeated last year.”
Rankin credits Mid-Isle Soccer Club president Willow Hartig, who took over in 2011, for the new change in direction.
“Her mantra is to provide opportunities for kids who have never played to get involved in the sport and make it a positive experience,” he explained. “And to develop programs to enable kids who want a higher level of soccer to get a higher level of competition.”
“That’s why we started the Mid-Isle Mariners rep program in 2011,” he noted. “We now have six rep teams after a lull of about 15 years. It’s been an overwhelming success because it enables local kids to get onto regional teams. Soccer is really flourishing this year.”
The new season for about 400 players between the ages of three and 18 got underway for the three-to-four-year-old Tots on Sept. 17, with the rest of the league starting games Sept. 24.
“The popularity of soccer is based on learning new life skills, learning the value of teamwork, striving for a common goal and making friendships that last a lifetime,” Rankin said.
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