The beautiful game will take over the fields at Cactus Park for the duration of the July 24-30 Estevan 2016 Saskatchewan Summer Games.
All nine districts will be sending squads of 18 males and 18 females to Estevan for the soccer competition at the Games. The under-13 female teams first take the pitch at Cactus Park on July 24 for practices before engaging in a round robin throughout the next day. The athletes will then compete in a day-long playoff on July 26 followed by the bronze and gold medal games at Woodlawn Park the next morning. The under-13 male teams follow the same schedule except in the back half of the Games from July 27 to 30.
Udo Baecker, coordinator of sport for all programs with the Saskatchewan Soccer Association (SSA), said the Games will easily be the biggest event these soccer players participate in this outdoor season. He said this will also be the final competition of the year for the majority of these kids, who normally play in house leagues or on travelling teams from the end of April to the beginning of August.
“It’s a very popular sport in Saskatchewan,” said Baecker. “As for the southeast there are quite a few smaller communities that are also in the soccer program. It’s mostly the spring program running in the month of May to the first of July weekend and our major member in this area is probably Weyburn, but it’s well represented along the highways.”
Baecker said the Games now give the SSA an opportunity to further grow the sport. He said members have been out promoting the soccer competition in each of the districts and in their member organizations to let the athletes know how unique it is to participate in a multi-sport event and the hope is that has generated more interest.