Kids kick it up a notch in Harbour Grace
Indoor soccer program enters 14th year
Local soccer aficionado Don Coombs starts hearing it in December.
That’s when young athletes around the region start asking him about the Conception Bay North indoor minor soccer and when they’ll get back in the gym for another winter session.
Where Coombs gets the call varies. He might hear it in the local shopping centre or when he visits an elementary school.
Either way, they’re looking forward to getting started again.
“The kids are excited to get back in the gym,” he said.
The program for athletes from ages four to 12 is entering is 14th season and was started by Coombs, along with Albert, Mary and Sarah Pynn and others.
With an emphasis on having fun and learning the skills of the game, the indoor program has its heart in the right place and is growing to new heights this season. This year’s edition has over 100 children registered, which represents the highest number they’ve had since they started over a decade ago.
“I’ve said if we have to look at other hours, we’re going to have to do it,” said Coombs. “I love doing it.”
It all started when a group of soccer coaches were looking to do in the winter when the outdoor pitches were covered with snow.
“We’re passing on the skills that we’ve learned over the years,” said Coombs.
The program started in Harbour Grace Primary and remained there until the school closed a couple of years ago. Then it moved across the park- ing lot to St. Francis, where its been the last four years.
“We couldn’t do it without the school,” said Coombs.
It’s been given rave reviews from provincial soccer officials and it’s primed to keep getting better.
“They’re learning just as much here as they are in bigger centres,” said Coombs. “We try to make it fun for the players.
“I love to see the kids there.”
There is a marked difference between playing indoor soccer and playing the game on grass or field turf.
The ball moves faster on the floor and requires athletes to move their feet even quicker if they want to control it as they run.
Coombs sees this as an advantage for players honing their skills in the gym during winter. If you can develop quick feet in the gym, it’ll only help you when you move outside.
“I think being in the gym is better for skill development,” said the coach.
Coombs makes sure to schedule the different age groups at varying times from week to week. He doesn’t want the indoor program to clash with anything else the kids might be involved in.
One group might be at 10 a.m. one week and be two hours later the following week.
“I don’t want them to have to choose,” he said. “This way they can make it to hockey, make it to dance or anything else they do.”
They might be forced to miss an hour of soccer a month, but he’d rather that than have them miss something because its scheduled at the same time.
It’s a community
A line he keeps hearing from those outside the program is that the number of coaches is ideal for the number of kids they have at any one time.
Those coaches come from the pool of athletes who came through the program and are coming back to help out.
It allows Coombs and the other coaches more time to spend one-on-one with the players. They’re bound to learn more that way.
“It really is a credit to everyone involved,” he said.
Soccer is a sport that continues to pick up momentum around the region, as evident by the growth in numbers in associations like C.B.N. Minor Soccer and the C.B.N. Lightning every year.
It goes hand-in-hand with the increased interest in the indoor game. With players from Trinity Bay and elsewhere making the journey to St. Francis, it lends favourably to the notion that soccer is beginning to outrank minor hockey as the sport of choice in Trinity-Conception-Placentia.
“It’s a credit to everyone,” said Coombs. “Soccer is a great game when it is played properly.”
Don Coombs instructs a group of athletes during the C.B.N. indoor minor soccer season.