The Yk Oldtimers Hockey League has had the sports market cornered in town when it comes to giving those aged 35 and up the chance to play in a setting which may not be as fast as they once were.
Joe Acorn is looking to do the same thing with soccer and he’s looking for some feedback on how that would potentially look.
Acorn has a survey up through the NWT Soccer Association on the feasibility of a masters soccer circuit for male players 35 years of age and up along with women 30 and up. It went live on Monday and the response has been decent so far with three dozen responses to date.
Acorn said it’s been all positive.
“There’s the opportunity to comment once they complete the survey and some of the responses have included things such as they’d love to see it or it’s a good way to participate or it’s just a great idea,” he said. “A lot of the older players have considered hanging up the cleats the older they get and I’m hoping to give them a chance to stay in the sport.”
If it takes off – Acorn hopes it will begin this summer if everything goes well enough – the circuit would be played at St. Joe’s Field but not the full length of it and not 11-a-side, as is the case with traditional soccer. This would be a smaller version with the field cut in half and games being played width-wise. The proposed team size would be either six or seven per side with two games going at the same time.
“It’s a smaller field so you would need less players,” said Acorn.
Even with the smaller confines, Acorn said it would still force players to be creative.
“There’s less room to move so it would tighten things up quite a bit,” he said.
The idea is to run the circuit through the Yellowknife Bay Soccer Club, colloquially known as the Sundogs, and the club is looking to purchase equipment that would fit the dimensions of the field.
“We’ve bought four 6-ft x 12-ft nets already because the regular soccer nets at the field would just be too big for what we’d want to do,” he said. “I’m also looking to get a dividing board to put in the middle of each field to stop the balls from going onto the other field.”
There’s also the idea of backstops to put up at each end of the field to stop the ball from either going into the playground at St. Joe’s or onto Williams Ave., he added.
The plan is to make this part of a wider-ranging initiative through the Sundogs that would see the creation of a new soccer league in town.
Acorn said he would like to have youth be the focus with the masters being a division within that structure.
“Our focus has always been to develop players and get them ready to go down south and play in tournaments,” he said. “Obviously, we aren’t going south anytime soon so we’ve been looking at other ways to help improve the game in the city and we feel this is one way to do it.”
And if you think this is going to create a conflict with the Yk Adult Soccer League, Acorn said it won’t.
“We’ll schedule all of our games around their schedule,” he said. “This isn’t an either-or scenario because we don’t want to compete with them. Our goal is to have at least one game per week (for the masters) and whatever their schedule looks like, we’ll fit ours around that.”