The Oceanside Lions have seen the number of players willing to play football increase dramatically in recent years.
But unfortunately, the Oceanside Youth Football Association is struggling to accommodate them all due to a shortage of coaches.
“I got emails from parents wanting to sign up their kids to play and told them if they wanted to play they had to go to Nanaimo because we didn’t have enough coaches,” said Colleen Rai, President of OYFA.
Currently, the Lions have a peewee team (8-11 years old) and a junior bantam team (12-13 years old). Rai said that because there are more players, they have the capacity to form another Peewee team but cannot do so due to lack of coaches.
“Parents don’t seem to be as involved as they used to be and I don’t know if it’s because of COVID or something,” Rai said. “I expect a waiting list for players who want to join our program. Our peewee team is extremely short of coaches. We also don’t have any coaches for our atomic team, which is for seven and eight year olds.
Rai is disappointed for the youngsters.
“Things are starting to open up and people want to exercise, move and it’s not there for them,” Rai said.
OYFA is a non-profit sports organization that has been around since 1999. Their teams play in the Mid-Island Co-operative League which consists of teams from Victoria to Parksville. The Lions had players as well as coaches who became essential parts of the successful Ballenas Whalers football program.
“We need dedicated coaches who can come two days a week plus games on Saturdays,” Rai said. “We actually need coaches who know the kids, know their skill levels, work with the same games, that sort of thing.”
The Lions will begin play in April starting with a football jamboree in Victoria. This will be followed by regular league games every weekend. Home matches are played at the Ballenas pitch.
Anyone interested in coaching can email [email protected] or visit their website at https://www.oceansideyouthfootball.ca/