Northwest Peace is Alberta Soccer’s northernmost District

Northwest Peace, a District trying to grow

Northwest Peace Soccer President, Darren Snider, confessed that even though his District normally struggles with participation and volunteers, he holds an optimistic view about the future.

Being Aberta Soccer’s northernmost District, Northwest Peace Soccer covers a huge area – even joining forces with British Columbia’s northeast towns. And according to its President, Darren Snider, that can be difficult to manage for the teams. “It is complicated to schedule games. There are occasional tournaments we get to go in Edmonton, but for the most part, it is Grande Prairie (AB) and Fort St. John (BC) who are competitive”, says Snider, in conversation with Alberta Soccer from his home in Fort St. John.

“We only have one employee for 10 hours a week, plus two Board Members”, he added. “There are no leagues or tournaments within our District, as communication with clubs is very difficult to reach”, Snider confesses.

City of Fort St. John, British Columbia.

Even though their numbers are not great, there is space for soccer at Northwest Peace. “Talking about Fort St. John, from U9 to U13, is half practice/half games. Then, from U13 up to U19, is Home League. Our competitive teams travel to Tier II or Tier III tournaments organized by EIYSA or EMSA, and also play games against teams from Grande Prairie a couple of times a year”, Darren Snider added.

COVID was another roadblock for them, as they saw a 1/3 registration decrease because of the pandemic, and have not seen a rebound yet.

But despite the difficulties, things are slowly starting to look better for Alberta Soccer’s northernmost District. The recent hire of a Technical Coach can mean a positive change, in Darren Snider’s words. “He develops the Grassroots and long-term development programs, starting at U3, up to U7 and sometimes U9. Besides that, his job is to teach parents of small kids how to coach.”

Northwest Peace Soccer District Coach, Chris Morgan.

In Mr. Snider’s opinion, Northwest Peace can greatly benefit from inclusion. “We are trying to engage more people from South America, Africa, and India, as their numbers are important in this region and there is a good interest for soccer in their communities”, he confessed.

Finally, Darren Snider concluded this interview by confessing he sees a future for soccer in the District he presides. “We have seen that some of the girls are moving to volleyball, which is a very popular sport up here, but since soccer is more reasonably priced, I think we can grow our participation numbers”, he closed.