Main image: HSC Soccer Challenge winners (from left) Neil Schenker (best trick shot), Sophia Maduri (most keep-ups, under 10 years) and Andrew Maduri (most keep-ups, 11-15 years) (supplied)
Like most sports organizations, the Huntsville Soccer Club (HSC) was heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Early on, they made the decision to shut down their house league program for the summer of 2020, but they still found creative ways to keep their players engaged.
“The COVID crisis was still in its early days when we made the decision to cancel our program, but the club executive felt it was important to give players and parents clarity about whether we would be running a program,” said HSC president Dave Caplan. “We also felt even in April the chances of the pandemic going away by summer was slim.”
With so many young athletes unable to play their favourite sport, the club brainstormed to find a way to keep their passionate players involved and engaged in the sport. “We made the decision to run three different contests for our members who, if they participated, could win a prize,” Caplan said.
The three competitions were: best trick shot, open to all ages; and most keep-ups (juggling) for both 10 and under and ages 11 to 15. Participants had a month to practice and then record their efforts and submit the video for judging.
Sophia Maduri had the most keep-ups in the 10 and under category with five while Andrew Maduri won for 11 to 15 year old category with fifteen. Neil Schenker won for best trick shot. “It’s pretty good,” said Caplan.
Above: The Huntsville Soccer Club invited its members to enter their best trick shots for the HSC 2020 Soccer Challenge. Neil Schenker won with this cool shot. (Video courtesy of the Schenker family.)
The winners each received a $100 gift card of their choice from one of the HSC sponsors. “I believe they all chose Canadian Tire gift cards,” Caplan said.
Overall, Caplan said that the club felt the event was a great success, as it gave those members who were missing soccer something challenging to do at home.
“It can certainly be hard to play soccer these days with the restrictions in place,” he said. “The club is always keeping on top of the latest events and the direction from Ontario Soccer. Ontario Soccer has indicated certain areas of the province can enter Phase 1 in their Return to Play guidelines and we are evaluating what it might mean for future programs. We are hoping to be able to return to play as soon as it’s safe to do so.”
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