Soccer players in Gameti were treated to a special futsal camp in the community late last month.

The camp took place at the Jean Wetrade Gameti School over two days before a session was held for teachers to cap off the weekend.

TimWooldridge, a teacher at the school, has been running practices with a group of students ranging from Grade 2 to 6 for close to a year. Wooldridge organized the camp with the help of the NWT Soccer Association (NWTSA).

Tim Wooldridge, left stands with Joseph Koyina, Jaycee Wedawin, Jacqueline Willard, Ade Zoe, Nika Mantla-Arrowmaker, Hannah Bekale, Keyden Quitte, Taati Lamouelle and Jesse Mcniven at the Gameti futsal camp. photo courtesy of Tim Wooldridge

“I’ve known people at the NWT Soccer Association on and off for many years, so I phoned them up and said ‘hey, could you come into town and offer a clinic for my kids that I train with,’” said Wooldridge. “We worked together over email for quite a few weeks and it came together and we had Jesse come together and run two days of clinics for people in the community.”

Futsal is similar to indoor soccer but with modified rules, futsal uses a smaller harder ball, the ball can’t go out of bounds and there is a time limit on how long players have to put a ball pack into play.

“In indoor soccer the walls are in play and you can get the rebounds placing a greater importance on speed and power, which often can result in a lack of technical development, whereas in futsal if the ball goes over the line the play is restarted with a kick in. This makes it a lot closer to the outdoor game,” stated Jesse Mcniven, a member of the NWTSA technical committee. “The ball is also heavier and smaller restricting the bounce allowing play to stay on the ground.”

Mcniven ran the camp in Gameti. It served as an opportunity for Wooldridge and the kids to try out brand new futsal equipment that the school had recently purchased after using indoor soccer equipment for close to a year.

“When I first got to Gameti I saw the traditional fuzzy tennis balls that are the size of a soccer ball and those don’t get people too enthusiastic about playing soccer, they bounce and they hit people in the face and stuff like that,” said Wooldridge.

“Sport North gave me some equipment funding and I went out and purchased some futsal balls. NWTSA said that Jesse would come and offer us a futsal training camp so we used the brand new equipment for the camp, I think Jesse is the first guy to use our brand new soccer nets,”

Wooldridge has previously organized teams in communities across the North that have travelled to attend tournaments. He said he wanted to use the camp as a way to show his students there are other people outside of the community that also play futsal and hopefully use it as a platform to attend a tournament in the future.

Moving forward Wooldridge is now hoping to find funding opportunities that will allow for him and his team make it out to attend one of those tournaments.

“Funds have been a bit hard to come by,” said Wooldridge. “But there’s a brand new recreation co-ordinator in town and she’s been very supportive and has mentioned several places we could apply to help us with travel expenses … so I am still searching for funds. One thing is for sure, we will keep the ball rolling here in Gameti and see what happens!”

Mcniven said NWT Soccer plans to regional futsal camps each year in different communities.

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