Parents of kids who have a passion for soccer but don't love playing it in the rain will be happy to hear Richmond FC will be playing some games indoors this winter.
No, the cites largest registration kid sports organization isn't ditching the outdoor game, rather it will be offering indoor options for those who want them.
RFC's Richmond Indoor Soccer League is taking registrations now for Sunday Night Soccer — an initiative to help bring more kids to the game and play it in more parts of the city.
The pilot season will be open to kids ages U13 to U16, with plans for an expansion in the spring.
“It's no secret Richmond outdoor soccer facilities are pretty concentrated in the west part of the city,” says RFC board member Chris Parry. “We're seeing more and more families moving toward the city centre and to the eastern parts as well, so we figured we should bring the game to the kids, in venues close to where they live, rather than asking them to fight traffic westward.”
The Richmond Indoor Soccer League will see kids drafted into teams in their local areas, including the Terra Nova Terrors, Minoru Mariners, Seafair Stingers, Cambie Highwaymen, King George Royals, and the Ironwood Inferno. Ambitions to host a team in Hamilton have been delayed due to lack of available venues east of No. 5 Road.
“We envision running these leagues like cosom hockey,” says Parry, “with a 'last off, last in' substitution rule, no goalies, and short 5v5 games to minimize the damage from blowouts.
“We ideally want boys and girls playing, and for all skill levels to find a place in the league. Kids who've never played soccer before are welcome, as are those who used to play but have dropped out over the years, and we'll endeavour to keep the teams even skill-wise.”
One driving factor behind the league is the large number of children in Richmond who can't play soccer on the traditional Saturdays, due to tutoring, competing sports, and family duties.
“Playing our games on Sunday night won't appeal to everyone,” continued Parry, “but it's the families w are missing out on currently that we really want to bring in.
“It's an opportunity for kids to get a little fitter, have a little more non-screen fun, take some pride in their neighbourhood, and for parents to not have to drive all over the Lower Mainland for them to take part.”
With games at Wowk, Quilchena, Talmey, McKay and Mitchell Elementary Schools, the idea is to open the whole city to soccer.
“At worst, you're going to travel across Richmond for a game,” added Parry. “At best, you can walk there.”
Registration for the fall to spring season is $50 per child, which includes a team t-shirt.
For more information visit the Richmond FC website.