Time for the beautiful game

Susan Flanagan
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Don’t let your children miss out on soccer registration

For us Flanagans, street hockey is a between-season sport. Unofficial. Untimed. Unrefereed. Anything goes.

Declan Flanagan plays in goal in St. John’s Youth Soccer in summer 2012. — Photo by Susan Flanagan/Special to The Telegram

And anyone with a stick can play. We sometimes have three-foot-nothing toddlers squaring off against six-foot-five teenagers.

On the odd occasion there are not enough children on hand to play a game of pickup; I am recruited to be netminder so my charming six-year-old can lob shots at my head. “Top bunk” is how he describes this move.

Regardless of whether he pictures a shelf or a bunk behind my head, all I picture are my $500 bifocals smashed into 24 playoff pieces.

It’s always a relief to see neighbourhood children materialize out of sidewalk cracks to take my place between the pipes, for I am then demoted to a lesser-skilled job.

I definitely prefer this second job to playing in net. All it requires is that I sit on a stool on the sidewalk and call out “car” every three to four minutes.

But soon, this duty too will change. No sooner will leaves appear on Townie trees than the perpetual game of street hockey will morph into summer soccer. Then it’s back to driving critters to the field.

When our first four children were younger, we marked the seasons with hockey and soccer. Winters my husband and I operated like two snowplows passing in the night as we ferried offspring from one rink to another.

In later years, our definition of a really good day was when the two older boys would play on the same ice at Twin Rinks and their sister would be on the second sheet of ice at the same time.

Since No. 1 could drive by that time, that meant we only had to get No. 3 to and from Brother O’Hehir, which was close enough to walk to if one didn’t have to carry goalie pads, stick, oversized bag and a surprise baby.

As summer approached, we’d happily switch out the smelly hockey bags to the shed for the less cumbersome and infinitely less smelly soccer cleats. Nos. 1 and 2 would generally play soccer on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Nos. 3 and 4 would play Mondays and Wednesdays.

The two children playing on the same night would not play on the same field. Four evenings a week, my husband would go to one field and I to another. We were like street cleaners, always working but seldom crossing paths. Those days have gone.

This year, it’ll just be No. 5 playing organized soccer. I registered him for St. John’s youth soccer, the same program as last year but different. This year, St. John’s soccer club has taken over the operation of the youth soccer program from the City of St. John’s.

Registration is still online or in person at the MEWS Centre on Mundy Pond Road, and the cost is still $130 per child. The fields remain the same.

St. John’s soccer begins the week of June 23 and goes until Aug. 21. And you have until May 30 to register. Do not fret if you’re too late for this program, for there are at least three other organizations offering youth soccer in St. John’s, as well as town programs in Torbay, Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, Paradise, C.B.S., Mount Pearl and Bay Bulls.

Soccer tots is the program that No. 5 played in before Christmas. The fall session was played indoors at Leary’s Brook Junior High. The soccer tots summer program, which begins July 2, has both indoor and outdoor locations. Registration is available online at http://mytots.ca/nl.

“We have weekend, weekday and weeknight classes in St. John's, Paradise and Mount Pearl,” says Andrew Murphy, adding you can register your child online at http://mytots.ca.

Feildians Athletics Academy (FAA) has been in operation in St. John’s since 1899, when cricket and soccer teams both had the honour of slugging it out on the field.

“Mens sana in corpore sano” (a healthy mind in a healthy body) has been the Feildians motto for more than a century. It’s sometimes easy to forget, especially in iceberg or caplin weather, when a person is feeling down, a good dose of fresh air and physical activity is like giving the body a jump start.

FAA has not forgotten the healthy body/healthy mind relationship and offers a summer soccer academy which consists of “age and skill appropriate drills and activities all designed to offer a fun environment while teaching new players the fundamentals of the game.” Their program runs from June 24 to Aug. 29 and includes lunchtimes, evenings or a combination thereof for $100 or $150.

FAA also offers “half-day” camps all summer and an Elite Dutch Touch Soccer Camp will take place July 1-5 at Feildian Grounds on Portugal Cove Road near Rennies River.

Metropolitan United FC (MUFC) in Goulds also offers a house league program open to children from under-4 to under-14 (born 2000-2010). The program runs 10 weeks from June 23-Aug. 29 with two weeknight games per week.

Regular registration is $100/child and all players receive a medal and

T-shirt. They also offer soccer day camps for ages six to 13 (born between 1999-2006).

The coaches for all these programs play shark and crab tag with such enthusiasm you’d think it their life aspiration. They can convince the shyest child onto the field and calm the overly competitive.

They are so kind and patient you’ll wish you could beam them into your home every supper and bedtime.

So don’t miss out on registration.

Susan Flanagan can be reached at susan@48degrees.ca.

REGISTRATION LIST

I’ve compiled a list to help in case you haven’t got around to it yet. You won’t regret it.

You might swear on me the odd suppertime but you’ll thank me when you’re 90 and remember those sweet summer days and evenings spent at the soccer field watching your prodigies play ball.

St. John’s Soccer

Email: administrator@sjys.ca

Phone: 576-5627

In person: Mon-Fri, H.G.R. Mews Community Centre (40 Mundy Pond Rd.)

Web: www.sjys.ca

Starts: June 23, 2014

Soccer Tots

Email: soccertotsnl@live.ca

Phone: 749-6518

Web: http://mytots.ca/nl

Starts: July 2, 2014

Feildians Athletics Academy

(FAA)

Email: registration@feildians.org

In person: 261 Empire Avenue

St. John's, NL A1C 3H9

Web: www.feildians.org

Starts: June 24, 2014

Metropolitan United FC

(MUFC)

Email: mudirector@gmail.com

Phone: 747-6832

In person: Wednesdays 7-9 p.m. at MUFC Office (back entrance of Goulds Library), 543 Main Rd., St John's, NL A1S 1G3

Web: www.metropolitanunitedfc.com

Starts: June 25, 2014

Organizations: Athletics Academy, FAA, MEWS Centre Elite Dutch Touch Soccer Camp H.G.R. Mews Community Centre MUFC Office Goulds Library

Geographic location: St. John's, Portugal Cove Road, Mount Pearl Mundy Pond Road Torbay Bay Bulls Goulds

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