It’s been one of the more popular summer programs for a number of years and the six-a-side soccer league is still going strong all these years later.
For the past 18 years, the six-a-side league has featured a ton of players from all across Vancouver Island, and travelers from far and wide, coming in to give it a shot and enjoy the beautiful game.
“We’ve been getting lots of numbers for years,” coordinator Rod Morrison said.
“We capped things off at 102 players this year, with a number on the subs list as well. It’s mostly players from around the Oceanside area but we get guys coming in from Nanaimo, Courtenay and Port Alberni. Then we get the odd traveler in here too, people that are here visiting friends and family that come out and discover what we’ve got going on.”
What started out as more of a way to introduce the high school players to some of the more senior soccer players in local leagues, Morrison has seen the numbers maintain their hold over the years regardless of the age groups coming in.
“It’s a great way to get people together,” Morrison said. “You come out here and see that we’ve got a good mix of younger and older players on the same team, getting to know one another. It gives those players who are playing in school still a chance to keep in shape over the summer and still be able to enjoy a competitive atmosphere. I think that’s really a great thing to have, getting people together who love playing this game.”
Currently in their fifth week, the six-aside league will run for another three weeks before wrapping up it’s season with an evening of playoff games.
It’s been a competitive league so far but it’s all in good fun.
“They enjoy it,” Morrison said.
“You can see the competition come out every time they’re out there but at the end of it all, everyone is shaking hands and laughing and having a good time. In the end, it’s all about having a good time.”
There has been more of a youth movement that has been coming in over the last few years and it’s something that’s been noticed in the age of those signing up to play in the league.
“The older players have been on the decline a little,” Morrison said.
“But it’s not because they’re not interested. Most of them come out here and see just how quick the game is with all these younger players coming out. We’ve still got good numbers with the older grouping that comes out but it’s definitely swinging in favour of the younger crowd. But that’s a positive sign, in anything really, seeing the younger people becoming more and more interested in what we’ve got going on. It really bodes well for our league and it really shows that there’s interest around the community and surrounding areas as well, which is what we like to see when it comes to the game of soccer here in Oceanside.”