Anxious soccer players nudge Mother Nature along

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Saturday's spring-like weather is melting a lot of snow that fell on Ottawa over the winter, but for some summer athletes the thaw hasn't been quick enough.

Some youth players from the Ottawa Internationals Soccer Club, and their parents, took to the artificial turf field at Hillcrest High School Friday for a shovel party.

That might not sound like a very intriguing invitation. But for players, the light at the end of the tunnel kept them motivated as they cleared the field, which remained covered in snow.

"It really shows that we're passionate about playing that we're willing to shovel the field to do it," said Conner Eder.

The Hillcrest field is one of the few turf fields in Ottawa, which made the shovel meet even more essential.

Soccer tryouts begin Monday for players of all ages with the Ottawa Internationals Soccer Club who use the fairly new turf fields at Hillcrest and École secondaire catholique Franco Cité.

The City of Ottawa does not allow players on any of its grass fields until May 15. But these players, itching to get out on the pitch, have a six-week head start thanks to the turf.

"It makes winter in Canada a little shorter, basically," said Bob Monahan, a head coach with the soccer club who organized the shovelling.

The shovelling continues all weekend as players plan to use half the field starting Monday.

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