With the current self-isolation in place throughout the province and the country, the Niagara-on-the-Lake Soccer Club has been forced to postpone its annual live registration.
When the town shut down all public facilities, the planned March 28 registration at the arena in Virgil was affected. The Ontario Soccer Association (OSA), of which the club is a member, also suspended all sanctioned activities last Wednesday.
Club president Ted VanderKaay says this is a perfect time for parents and players to register for this summer’s season via the club’s new website, at notlsoccer.ca. At press time, the board of directors of the club were optimistic that the May 23 opening festival will go on as planned.
VanderKaay points out that the new website was necessary due to some changes put in place by the club’s original software provider.
“They were cancelling their initial program and wanted us to migrate to their new platform. That forced our hand to look for other options, and we felt that a more local provider, Power Up Sports Management Systems of Toronto, provided a superior product with a more local flavour.”
Other clubs in the Niagara area, including the St. Catharines Jets, Niagara Falls United and the Welland Soccer Club are also using the new platform.
Because of the move to the new software provider, VanderKaay says that all previous registrants will need to create a new account on notlsoccer.ca.
It may take a little longer to register, but VanderKaay says “one of the benefits of having the new software is that we are upgrading all our systems information to be accurate. With the old platform, it had been around for about 10 years, there was a lot of inaccurate and incomplete information, including contact information for parents. By migrating to the new platform, we will be able to update our database, to more current, accurate levels.”
The new website will also direct parents and coaches to up-to-date information on the club’s concussion protocol. VanderKaay says the club is compliant with Rowan’s Law, passed by the Ontario government in Bill 193 in 2018.
Upon registration, visitors to the site will be directed to a number of online resources related to concussion awareness, including those posted by the Province.
Last year, the NOTL Soccer Club had 405 players registered, in ages 4 to 17, with a couple of adult teams added into the fold.
For 2020, the adult teams have moved on, and this year the club is offering a house league, beginning with the Timbits program for ages four and five, and ending with their interlock program, for up to age 17. In that program, teams from NOTL compete against those from other Niagara municipalities in a sort of extended house league program.
There will also be travel programs, with U8, U9 and U11 boys/co-ed teams competing in the Niagara Soccer League.
With Timbits registration set at $100, and house league at $160, VanderKaay feels soccer is still one of the most affordable activities in town.
“It’s a great outdoor activity,” he says, “and our soccer facilities, in Virgil and Memorial Park, are second to none.”
The club is also holding a soccer camp the week of Aug. 10. Instructor John DiPasquale returns that week to offer a fun-filled program of games, activities and instruction to improve soccer skills. Again, at only $85, it is an affordable way for kids aged six to 14 to spend half a day. Registration for the camp is also available on the website.
VanderKaay encourages parents to visit notlsoccer.ca to register. And, once the warmer weather sets in, even if people are confined to their homes, it’s never too early to get out to the backyard to start kicking the ball around.