Soccer league benched again

·2 min read

With vaccinations steadily dolling out in the region, many were holding out hope that this summer would prove to be a little more normal. Sadly, normal might have to wait another year for the region's soccer players.

Borderland Soccer League announced that they have cancelled their 2021 season for the second summer. The decision was made on Sunday during the league’s annual general meeting.

“At this point we just don’t have much time if we were to move on just with getting everything ready and where we are at in terms of our Ontario rules and regulations. It just doesn’t make sense for a league structure to happen this year,” Chris Sinclair, president and director of game officials Borderland Soccer League, said.

Sinclair said he is not sure how community members will react, adding that with restrictions not letting up and the minimal preparation time, it is not realistic to have a season.

Sinclair said possibly moving the league to the fall is not an option as they would be losing more players.

“Whether it’s men or women, you’re losing a lot of players going to university and our numbers haven’t been very good in previous years,” Sinclair said.

Sinclair said they have noticed a decrease in player numbers in the last five years, adding that the women’s team has gone from three teams to two and the men’s league has gone from four teams to three.

“Hopefully that trend doesn’t carry on. Hopefully people are eager to get back,” Sinclair said.

“I’m sure lots of people missed playing soccer last year, so the hope would be to maybe see an increase in numbers just because of having that year off,” Sinclair said.

Sinclair said people have been asking him about the league which he hopes is a good sign and means that there is interest in getting back.

With no season this summer, Sinclair said the board will begin planning for 2022 which includes brainstorming ideas on ways to encourage participation.

Despite losing two summers of revenue, Sinclair said they are in good financial shape.

“Each year we come out relatively even,” Sinclair said. “Obviously last year we didn’t have any income but having said that, we also don’t have any expenses, so we are staying status quo right now.”

Sinclair said he thanks the community for their understanding and support, and they look forward to hopefully having a season next summer.

Natali Trivuncic, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times