Optimist Club hoping for a busy year with soccer for hundreds of kids

By Kirk Winter

Youth sports send out mixed message for summer of 2020

The Optimist Club, which has run recreational soccer in Lindsay for over three decades, is hoping the 2023 playing season will see more than 400 local youth suiting up to enjoy the so-called beautiful game.

Pete Sanderson, a club representative, told the Advocate in a telephone interview that so far 365 young people have signed up for the 2023 playing season which begins May 8 and concludes the week of June 26. There is a mid-season tournament on Saturday June 3 where players will have the opportunity to play an additional three or four games.

The club didn’t run soccer for a couple of years because of COVID but started up again last year. For the coming year, there’s a sign-up on March 29 on the second-floor community room at the Lindsay Recreation Complex from 6-8 pm.

If parents/guardians cannot make it that day, online signup will be available until at least April 5 at lindsayoptimistclub.org/soccer. Between April 5 and early May, Optimist Club members will be putting together teams, ordering equipment and finding and training coaches and referees.

Fees to play have not changed since 2019. U7 players will cost $60 to register and through a partnership with Tim Hortons and their Tim Bit soccer program, will receive a full soccer uniform as part of their payment. U9, U11, U13 and U16 players will cost $70 to play and will receive a league jersey.

Sanderson expects to have as many as 28 teams in the U7 and U9 age groups. Both these age groups will play at Wilson Fields, the U7 on Monday night and the U9 on Wednesday night. U11, U13 and U16 will play at Optimist Park with the U11s playing Monday night, the U13s Wednesday night and the U16s playing Tuesday nights.

“We have offered girls-only divisions at the U13 and U16 age groups since 2017,” Sanderson said. “This is the only group that may not run this year unless we get a real last-minute surge of interest. We will simply fold those players into our already existing mixed divisions.”

Sanderson made sure to point out that many hands are needed to make this program a success.

He says Steve Turner at Lindsay Sportsline has been terrific at getting the shirts done for many years. Councillor Charlie McDonald, who is a club member, will be training and booking the referees this season.

As well, long-time member Jack Kyle takes care of finding the 50-plus sponsors needed for the season.

“If we have 50 teams, we will also need 50 coaches,” Sanderson added. “We are hoping that a number of folks will step forward to help us with that. We will also need a fair compliment of referees and referees are paid or can receive community service hours for their efforts.”

He said the city is well served at all levels for kids who want to play soccer, with  coordination between the Optimists, the Boys and Girls Club and the Kawartha Inferno program, so kids who want to play more have the option to do so.

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