Oceanside Youth Soccer hopes to have more girls playing during the fall season. (PQB News file photo)

Oceanside Youth Soccer hopes to have more girls playing during the fall season. (PQB News file photo)

PQB youth soccer organization sees decline in participation among girls

Drop-in night aims to boost numbers back to pre-COVID levls

With the Canadian women’s team recently winning its first-ever gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Oceanside Youth Soccer hopes the historic milestone will significantly motivate more girls to come out and play.

Since resuming soccer this summer, the Oceanside Youth Soccer Society has noticed a downward trend in girls participating in the program.

“They’re not coming back to the sport like the way it was before,” said Aaron Pelley, a member of the board of directors. “We’re trying to encourage more girls to come back.”

Youth sport in Canada was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for young girls. A recent study released by the Canadian Women in Sports and E-Alliance revealed one in four girls who participated in youth sports prior to COVID-19 have not committed to returning.

The OYSS now aims to leverage the success of the women’s national team at the Olympics as an incentive to draw more girls to come out and play soccer.

“We’re trying to capitalize on that for sure,” said Pelley. “We’re trying to get the word out.”

The society will host a ‘Girls in Soccer/Invite a Friend Drop-in’ event on Aug. 31 from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Qualicum Beach Recreation Field.

The society invites all current, former and future girl soccer players and their friends (under-8 level and older) to attend an informal event to reinvigorate or introduce a passion for soccer. No experience or equipment is necessary.

Pelley said soccer is a sport that everyone can engage in.

“There’s not very many barriers to get them started,” Pelley explained. “It’s not an expensive sport. We’re also outside so it’s the safest way we can get (active) during COVID.

Executive director Jessica Muddiman said they’re now wrapping up the summer program and are getting ready for the fall season in September.

“We should be operating a semi-normal season, as before,” said Muddiman. “We’re hoping it will continue and we’re keeping our fingers crossed.”

This fall, OYSS is also introducing Tiny Tots Soccer for under-4 players. You can still register for the fall season by visiting their website at www.oceansideyouthsoccer.com.

For any other inquiries, contact Muddiman at execdirector@oceansideyouthsoccer.com.

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