The playing field may be changing for mid-Island soccer teams, but that mattered little to the 500 or so players who took to the pitches in Parksville last weekend for OYSS league’s annual U11 and U12 boys and girls year-end tournament.
Oceanside had five teams in the mix in all, and the spirit of fun and team play was front and centre.
“We had 40 teams and 45 games on Saturday in the playdowns, and on Sunday we had 18 games in the playoffs,” Oceanside Youth Soccer’s administrator Mike Cochrane said after the final whistle.
“It went good, this may be the last time we see Nanaimo in it,” he lamented, referring to Tuesday’s story’s detailing Harbour City Football Club’s controversial decision to pull out of the OYSS league. “I’ve been talking to a lot of parents from Nanaimo and they don’t agree with the decision at all.”
The OYSS league includes Mid-Isle (Ladysmith), HCFC (Nanaimo), Gabriola, and Oceanside.
“This tournament goes back as far as I can remember,” said Cohrane. “My oldest played in it back in ‘89, but it’s been going on in some form for 40 years if not longer.”
Asked his take on the toureny, Oceanside U12 Girls’ coach Warren Cudney said “our team played extremely well and had a fantastic tournament. The girls all raised their game, and I thought they showed great sportsmanship under the conditions. They didn’t let the pending uncertainty take away from the enjoyment.”
Further to Tuesday’s story on the HCFC situation, OYSS president Dave Reynolds said then “it’s awful. It really is, I mean you saw a lot of kids playing up there this weekend. We need to put pressure on the Nanaimo board to reverse the decision. We just finished the season today,” he told The NEWS Sunday when asked if they’ve started looking at other possibilities for next year, “and we don’t even know if they’ll get (the decision) through their AGM in May, so until we’ve explored every possible avenue we’re not even considering any other options right now.”
Minute of thanks observed
Prior to each game teams met at mid-field for a ‘One Minute of Thanks’ which organizers said was:
• For players to thank each other for a wonderful season and opportunity to play together.
• For players to thank parents/families for the hours of driving, commitment, kit-washing and volunteer time they have put in, not just this season, but every year.
• For players to thank fans and supporters.
• For families, coaches and supporters to thank players for the entertainment they have given them and for the fair play they have shown on the pitch.
• For everyone to thank the volunteer referees.
• For everyone to thank the volunteer coaches, past and present for their goodwill, and the many hours and dedication on the training pitch and at games.
• For everyone to thank board members from all clubs for the good they do for the game and the community.