Youth train for territorials

Arctic Winter Games selection camp shows Deh Cho skill

April Hudson | LIIDLII KUE/FORT SIMPSON
October 8, 2015
Eight girls trying out for Juvenile female played against each other at the Fort Simpson recreation centre on Oct. 3. - April Hudson/NNSL photo

Eight girls trying out for Juvenile female played against each other at the Fort Simpson recreation centre on Oct. 3. – April Hudson/NNSL photo

Twenty-five Deh Cho youth who tried out for the Arctic Winter Games in Fort Simpson on Oct. 3 will be joining 104 of their peers at the upcoming territorial selection camp.

Fort Simpson was one of five locations the NWT Soccer Association chose for its regional development camps and Arctic Winter Games selection.

Players are divided into five teams. Juvenile male and female teams will include players 13 years of age and under, while junior male and female teams include youth 15 and under and the intermediate female team is for players up to the age of 17.

NWT Soccer Association president Ollie Williams said the upcoming territorial selection camp has yet to be scheduled but will result in the selection of players who will ultimately travel to Greenland in 2016 to partake in the Arctic Winter Games.

After territorial selection, the soccer association’s five coaches will work to train team members in Futsal, a version of soccer that focuses on ball control and player fitness.

“It’s an exciting new challenge for us. We’ve worked hard to lay some of the groundwork in place to make sure we have the right coaching staff, we have coaches who understand the game and can take it out to the regions,” Williams said. “There are teams out there who have played Futsal widely in their own regions for a lot longer than we have but we like a challenge.”

Futsal is relatively new to the NWT. Similar to indoor soccer, Futsal is more difficult because it prohibits players from bouncing the ball off walls. Additionally, the soccer ball used is smaller and heavier, and players must restart play within four seconds once they regain the ball.

“You can’t just hang around and get your breath back – you have to keep going and going. It encourages use of substitutes and rewards athleticism,” Williams explained. “It takes a bit of getting used to, which is why the regional development camps we held were a really useful exercise for us. They exposed as many people as possible to the new rules and new ball.”

The Fort Simpson regional development camp was coached by Rebecca Alty, who took time off from her municipal election campaign in Yellowknife to tutor youth in Fort Simpson.

“It was great to have someone of her coaching calibre. She has a lot of Arctic Winter Games experience,” Williams said.

Fort Liard player Jolan Kotchea, who ultimately qualified for the juvenile male team and will play at territorial selection, said he is excited to try out for the Arctic Winter Games.

“It might be cold but going to Greenland would be pretty cool,” he said.

Williams, who used to coach soccer in Fort Liard, said he thinks the players in the NWT will be up to the challenge of learning Futsal before the games begin.

“We have a lot of great players. (When I was coaching), I was incredibly impressed … at the level a lot of the players operate at, and their commitment and enthusiasm,” he said. “I think we’ll have teams we can really be proud of.”

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