Island soccer league to take year off due to volunteer shortfall

2016: In photo, back row, left to right, is coach Dan Smith, Abby Smith, Madison Swihart, Amber Wiwchar, Larissa Chevrette, Chase Hester, Nathan Temple, Rory Dearing, Logan Pearson, front row, Bailey Yaschuk-Middaugh, Lily-Faith Hore, Kyle Wood, Michael Bailey and Will Gordon.

MINDEMOYA—It appears the Manitoulin Island Soccer program will take a year off, as not enough local residents have shown an interest in helping to organize the league this summer. Last week, a meeting was held in Mindemoya to gauge the interest of volunteers to help organize and run the program this year.

“We didn’t get any response,” said Ian Whittington, who along with his wife Wanda and a third Island volunteer have made up the main group of organizers since day one of the Island Soccer league on the Island. “I think what will probably happen is that we will take a year off and see what happens and see if anyone comes forward to help out for next year (2018).”

Mr. Whittington explained that normally at this time of the year, “we would be getting sponsors and ordering jerseys for the players. Unfortunately, no other volunteers have stepped up to help out, which is needed. The original group has included my wife Wanda and Cathy Jeffery since day one.”

“There needs to be five or six core group members to take on the organizing of the soccer league,” said Mr. Whittington. Interestingly, none of the corps organizers have ever had any children play in the soccer league. “And we’ve had a number of people drop off as volunteer organizers as their kids got older.”

“We’ve averaged a couple of hundred kids in the soccer league every year,” said Mr. Whittington. “We peaked at about 230-240 kids one year, but generally we have about 200 kids registered for the soccer league every year.”

“But we need more parents to participate and get involved in organizing and running the league.”

“Yes, right now we are at the date that is critical to get organized for a new season,” continued Mr. Whittington. “Hopefully enough kids will miss not having the league this summer, and more people will come forward and indicate they would like to volunteer by January 1 of next year and more interest can be drummed up. The structure and facilities are still there if another group wants to take this on and we would be more than willing to work with them for one or two years and get it going. We realize one of the problems is that it is hard to convince people that by mid-January we have to be thinking about the soccer program for that season.”