Senior registration and training sessions being held this week
STELLARTON – Giving everyone a place to play.
That is the goal behind a few new additions to the Northern Nova United senior soccer program this season.
In recent years their main focus has been senior B teams on both the men’s and the women’s side. Those will still be available for people to play on, but there are other options for those looking to be a little less competitive.
This year will be the first year for the women’s seven aside league. It will run every Monday at 7:30 p.m. beginning in late May to August. It is 100 per cent recreational and is meant to be a fun way to stay physically fit according to NNU Soccer Club head coach Jackie Fitt-Ryan.
The league will play across the full-size field, playing a similar length and size to the indoor facility. Fitt-Ryan said they hope to have approximately four teams to play each week.
“It’s amazing the amount of people that have signed up already, just from me posting it on Facebook,” she said.
“It’s offered in other regions and in Truro they’ve been doing it for awhile and it’s very successful. I just asked the board if it was OK to do. They said yes, that I could go ahead with planning this and that’s where we are now.”
The cost of that 12-week program is $50. Tonight those interested in seeing what it will be like to play the seven-a-side league can visit the Stellarton Indoor Soccer Complex at 7 p.m. There is no cost for the session, but registration for the full program will be taking place during the session.
Following that will be a U-18 and senior B women’s training session at 8 p.m.
This year there are some changes to the senior B program as the club hopes to have two teams.
They will have one team committed to training on a regular basis and travelling to a few tournaments, on top of playing in their league. The second will focus on league play and won’t have as much commitment.
“We’re looking to give people the choice,” said Fitt-Ryan. “Our goal is to get like-minded players together.
“The goal of the second team is to get as many women out playing the sport as possible. At one time it used to be such a big sport in the county, so we’re just trying to get these women out to be active in the sport again.”
The more competitive senior B team will be hosting the provincial championship this year in Stellarton, which is something they hope to use to create interest. Fitt-Ryan said there are a lot of talented players in Pictou County, so they hope they can start to be more competitive at the provincial level.
“We do look to development at a younger age, but that isn’t the focus at our age,” she said. “We obviously want to get better, but that isn’t the primary focus. Looking at the senior level we have so much talent in this county that I feel we could bring home provincial titles in the future. One of the goals this summer is to win a senior B provincial title.”
On the men’s side there will continue to be the senior B team, but this year the club will be introducing a masters team for players 35 and over. Last season there were two senior B teams, but the goal of introducing the masters team is to have more youthfulness on their senior B squad.
“We will have our senior B team the same as our competitive senior women’s team,” said club president Korey Avery. “This year with the introduction of the masters team we want our senior team to be more youth based and allow players that are coming up to have a place to play once they finish U-18.”
The senior B team will play in the Highland League, while the masters team will simply play friendlies (exhibition) with teams from around the province. There are currently no other Highland Region clubs that have master teams, so there is no league to play in.
Avery said they will play the teams from HRM and Cape Breton, as well as travel to tournaments when possible.
“It’s a little less commitment for the older guys and a lot of them coach, so it gives them another opportunity to keep playing with a lower level of commitment,” he said.
“With the masters program it’s about fun and fitness. We still want to go out there and play well, but instead of us hanging around the senior B team it will be better for us to play with guys our own age.”
This Thursday at 8 p.m. the U-18, senior and masters men’s teams will have a training session at the Stellarton Indoor Soccer Complex. The session is free. They will be holding registration for those programs beforehand.
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris