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Two Olds minor soccer teams heading to provincials

The club's U9 team played as U11s, and during a tournament hosted by Olds on June 22 had to settle for silver, losing to Acme in a penalty shootout
Brian Weinans of Olds and Ian Amandt of Three Hills battle it out in U19 tournament action June 22 at the Rotary Athletic Park. Doug Collie/MVP Staff

OLDS — The Olds Minor Soccer Club (OMSC) is having a hugely successfully season.

Its U19 and U15 teams are headed to provincials July 5-7 in St. Paul.

Also, a U9, playing as U11s, captured silver during a district tournament in Olds during the June 22 weekend.

“We started to create a competitive division this year in Olds,” OMSC president Cam French said during an interview with the Albertan.

“We had a U9 (team) play up in U11 and we developed two U13 teams or two tournament teams; one for U11 and one for U13.

“It allowed the kids to kind of go in and play a bit of a competitive stream and they enjoyed it. It worked well."

The U9s not only played at the U11 level all season, but nearly won the U11 level during the districts, settling for silver after losing in a penalty shootout to Acme.

French said his recollection is that the U13s lost a bronze medal game in Lethbridge, but won bronze in Airdrie.

“The U11 team has done quite well as as well. Most of their games have been fairly close. They haven't got any hardware yet, but hopefully in in Red Deer they're able to win some medals,” French said.

Then of course there’s the performance of the U15s and U19s.

“Both those teams did exceptionally well,” he said.

French said the success the club’s teams have enjoyed this season has been thrilling.

“It's been great, it really has. You can see the smiles on the kids’ faces,” he said.

“Everybody's happy to show up at the soccer field, you know, even though we had rough weather this this spring. It was great to see.”

All in all, it’s been a successful season for OMSC, French said, adding that 311 kids were registered for soccer this year, roughly on par with previous years, or perhaps up a bit.

French has a theory for some of the attraction to the game.

“I think the competitive stream’s helping a little bit,” he said. “A lot of kids wanted to play a little more competitive and we've kind of given them that.”

So many kids want to play soccer in Olds that finding space to play is becoming a real challenge.

“Rotary is a fantastic facility,” French said. "I mean basically we have two soccer fields that we've cut and diced, and (done) anything we could to kind of accommodate.

“There was a field beside there that the Town's mowed, and we've kind of turned that into a bunch of little fields for the little guys.

“So we're doing what we can with the space we have, but it is limited, for sure.”

French said they’ve had some key help from École Olds High School and the Olds College of Agriculture & Technology.

“The college and the high school have been great,” he said.

“We've loaned them our nets and they've loaned us field time over there, so that's worked well.”

French was asked if OMSC might host provincials, say next year.

The board hasn’t made a decision on that possibility, he said.

The big problem, he said, is the number of volunteers that would be required.

“The provincials is quite an undertaking. There's a lot of requirements involved to make that happen, so we'll see,” he said.

“I don't want to commit to anything, but there's definitely discussions on about (hosting) a tournament of some sort.”

French stressed again that volunteers are key to the club and what it does.

He said they had some great help with, for example, the canteen during the Olds tournament.

“We had one individual stay there for most of the day,” French said.

“The more volunteers we can get the better. We have talked about possibly doing a tournament next year, it'll just come down to how many volunteers we can get to help out.”

Another change was that the club rebranded.

Their teams are now the Olds Mustangs.

“We just wanted a new look. You know the board of the talked about it for actually a year or two,” French said.

“We actually put it out there to the community and had them vote on a on a few different names, and the Olds Mustangs overwhelmingly took it.

“And it kind of lends a hand to the (Olds College) Broncos as well, right?”

There’s yet more soccer to come.

French notes the sign-up for the indoor season is coming up fast. It starts July 1.

“We have to get registration out there early so we can commit to the numbers and how much space we need for rental of some of these gym spaces,” he said.

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