A photo posted to the Aurora Minor Soccer League's Facebook page in 2017.
A Yellowknife kids’ recreational soccer league says its numbers have plunged after two years out of action because of Covid-19.
The Aurora Minor Soccer League, unlike the city’s two recognized clubs, focuses on games between teams – which can be hard to come by, in the NWT – instead of skill development.
But the league, which last ran in the winter of 2019, has dropped from an average of nearly 400 registered players in previous seasons to just 200 so far this fall.
“I’m assuming it has to do with Covid,” said Heather Seltzer, the league’s president, by phone on Wednesday. The league’s opening games for its various age groups take place this weekend.
Seltzer said the league, known as AMSL, couldn’t find volunteers prepared to take on pandemic tasks like figuring out approval to play from the territory’s chief public health officer. Instead, the league effectively shut down in 2020 and 2021.
“People don’t know about us, they’ve forgotten about us, or their kids are playing elsewhere,” said Seltzer. She believes many kids have now signed up for club soccer but aren’t coming back to the league, despite initiatives like teaming up with the Sundogs club to offer discounts if people register for both.
“Some age groups are great, the numbers are really good,” said Seltzer. “In some age groups, we have just enough to make two teams. And then it’s not as fun, you’re playing the same team every weekend, every game. It gets a little boring.
“We’re begging and pleading at this point. Anybody who wants to come, we’re willing to make it work.
“Once we’re out there this weekend, we’ll see the other club kids. I think that might get some things moving. But it’s just real sad, right now.”