This story was published in the Spring 2023 issue of Total Sports Quinte magazine
Registration numbers have soared for the Belleville Soccer Club for the upcoming 2023 outdoor season.
About 1,250 players are signed up for the club’s recreational leagues while there’s an additional 250 in the development and competitive program.
“We have had a huge influx of registrations this year, more than I have ever had by far since I have been at the club,” said head administrator Jordan McConnell, who has been with the Belleville club for more than seven years.
“Luckily many of our parents registered really early which gave me the opportunity to order more uniforms twice as we kept maxing out what we had anticipated.”
There are 114 recreational teams and 16 rep and development teams. S
“We even have some children on the waitlists,” McConnell said. “We are doing everything to find them jerseys and get them a spot.”
Despite a lot of uncertainty rebounding from COVID restrictions, last year also saw growth for the organization with just under 960 recreational players and 185 in the development and competitive program.
Soccer seems to be growing everywhere, which is wonderful,” McConnell said. “In Belleville, our small midsize fields have completely maxed out. We actually have no other space to put nets and kids. Hopefully we can work with the city this year for next summer so we can try to find more greenspace and field space so we can accommodate more players next year.”
McConnell reports the club’s indoor season, which runs from October to April at the Loyalist Sports Dome, was also a success this year with double the highest previous registrants.
Another focus for the club is providing quality training and development programs for youth. Thanks to some club coaches like Rob Terry, Tom Moran and, most recently joining the development crew, Mike Zanette, development programs are now being offered year-round. There are currently around 135 kids training on Saturday afternoons for five weeks.
“Children and youth seem to want more and more soccer and we are trying to find a way to give that to them,” McConnell said.
An exciting new initiative for the Belleville Soccer Club this summer is offering an Adaptive Soccer Program for children ages 4 to 12 who have exceptionalities. The league will be suited for children with special needs and could be better supported through an adaptive program rather than the traditional soccer league.
“We had two parents that were very willing to help and really take the coaching and facilitation lead on this to allow us to launch this program this year,” McConnell said, adding more volunteers are still sought for the program that will be held Saturdays at 10 a.m.
“It will be held on the Field of Ability this summer which we are very thankful to have to allow us to provide a very inclusive soccer program,” McConnell said.
The need for volunteers isn’t limited to just the adaptive program as the increase in overall registration numbers adds to the need for more help.
“Throughout all of the soccer seasons we are very lucky that we have so many volunteers that make sure we can run all the programs. Without them it would be impossible,” McConnell said. “This summer alone, we need at least 130 people for teams, from coaching to managing teams, just helping at the fields, helping find sponsors, helping prepare equipment and organize festivals.”
McConnell said the club appreciates the support it receives from the community.
“This summer we have also had a huge interest in team and club sponsorships, so many wonderful companies and individuals from our surrounding community that have sponsored teams,” she said. “We are so grateful because the sponsorships allow us to ensure that we can keep equipment purchased, year-end festivals are able to happen. We didn’t quite get all house league teams sponsored this year, but we were close.”
Anyone wishing to volunteer or provide sponsorship can reach out to the club.
Check out the Belleville Soccer Club at bellevillesoccerclub.ca