The response to Bashaw’s newest sport association has been “phenomenal.”
That’s the only phrase Michelle Hilderman could find that adequately describes the outpouring of support for the Bashaw Soccer Association’s (BSA) inaugural season.
The BSA will start out with teams in three younger categories — U5, U7 and U9 — with a total of 42 kids registered.
“I was blown away with how many came out at registration,” she said. “The hope is for next year to have a U11 team.”
There has been recreational summer soccer programing in Bashaw at times in the last few years, but nothing organized until now.
“I have a six year old son who played the past two years in Clive, and this year he would have had to play twice a week, so I really wondered what the interest here in Bashaw would be to have a team,” Hilderman said.
“It seemed like a lot of people I talked to wanted to have their kids here, but no one was too interested in organizing it. So, I approached BARB (Bashaw Area Recreation Board) and asked if they needed some help. Since then, BARB and many others have been phenomenal.
“The big number of players is all because of there not being as much travel now. Being able to stay local is huge, both for those that were driving to Stettler or Ponoka or Camrose or Clive to play as well as for the ones that wanted to play but weren’t interested in leaving Bashaw to do it.”
BARB has provided the start up funding, complete with equipment such as netting and balls, which helped keep the registration fee low and enough to cover the insurance that is provided through the Central Alberta Soccer Association (CASA).
One big shot though came courtesy of Tim Hortons youth sports sponsorship project, with each Bashaw player receiving a jersey, ball, socks and, at season’s end, a medal.
“When we reached out to the Tim Bits program, they were excited and told us this was exactly the kind of sponsorship they are interested in,” she said, noting this also helped keep fees lower as very little needed to be purchased by BSA.
“In addition, the Bashaw School is generously helping us out by letting us use their field for free. If we do have the older age group next year, they will need a bigger field and it’s possible that the Bashaw Agricultural Society may host that for us.”
With the season booted up on April 29 with the first set of practices, the big news came one day earlier.
After narrowing the selection down to four popular choices, the coaches decided on a name for the new club — the Bashaw Blazers.
Hilderman explained everyone seemed pleased with the choice and thanked Tracy Lee Rosin for coming up with the winning name.
As for the season ahead, the majority of the time on the field will be spent practising and learning various skills, with a few fun games with area clubs mixed in.
“The season will run until the end of June, with that final week just being a wind up party. Most of it for these kids is about learning and skill development and it’s great that we have lots of coaches willing to help out,” she said.
“In fact, before registration night was done we had a coach for each of the teams and others coming forth to help out. It was all just phenomenal.”
For more information, check out the Bashaw Soccer Club on Facebook.