The Fredericton District Soccer Association (FDSA) has joined forces with Canadian Sport for Life to help improve not only soccer, but sports as a whole in New Brunswick.
“Canadian Sport for Life is a national movement designed around getting kids more active and helping sports design their programs for kids and help them gain a bigger and better enjoyment for sport,” said Barry Morrison, the Club Head Coach of the FDSA.
Morrison recently travelled to Ottawa for a three day summit, where this year’s participants were introduced. He described it as a “two day conference which includes meetings and focus groups.”
Morrison believes that the FDSA’s involvement is crucial to the province.
“Our program, the FDSA, is striving to become a leader in the province, not just in soccer, but in all sport in terms of our knowledge and delivery in Canadian Sport for Life content,” he said.
The program required funding and it was received with open arms by Steve Harris, who is head of the Canadian Sport for Life Long Term Athlete Development (CS4L LTAD) in New Brunswick.
“It is to my advantage and that of the province to help more New Brunswickers become experts in CS4L LTAD,” Harris said.
The program lasts for 12 months, and during that time Morrison will have access to the national experts in the program and continual assistance from those involved.
Ten people will be introduced at the Summit. Morrison is the only representative from Atlantic Canada. Six are from Ontario, while the other three are from British Columbia.
He will talk to the other nine members once a month about ideas and concepts for their programs.
While the project is to help kids get involved in sport, Morrison stresses that it’s more than that.
“We want to be ahead of the curve and thinking differently about sport and doing our best to our players, coaches, and parents, to have the best possible experience possible,” he said.
The FDSA wants to encourage a fun factor too, which aids all parties involved. Morrison believes that if the kids enjoy playing soccer, they will want to continue playing each year, which in turn makes the parents pleased to see their child enjoying extracurricular activities. That then reflects on the FDSA coaches, who will likely want to continue coaching the same children as they progress through the age groups.
“We’ll give up a little skill improvement in the long run if the enjoyment factor is double,” Morrison said.
The project required funding which the LTAD provided. However, the funding isn’t confirmed officially.
“I am 99% sure that I can provide funding to the FDSA for this project, but we haven’t committed anything yet just as our budget doesn’t get approved until April or so,” Harris said. “The project has the support of the provincial government, but the amount of actual funding will be determined in the new fiscal.”
The FDSA have worked with the LTAD before as they have received small grants for projects, but Morrison says “this is certainly the biggest thing we’ve tried to do.”
The bulk of the work was done by Morrison. “I went out, got our project put together, got it accepted, found funding for it, took it to our board and said ‘guys, here’s what we’re doing. I hope it’s ok with you.’” They quickly approved the initiative.
Harris says they couldn’t have a better person than Morrison heading up this project.
“I think he can and will be an excellent leader not only within soccer, but within the Fredericton community. So my motive is to support Barry through this CS4L Leadership Training and the project is part of that.”