Minor football will soon return to Cloverdale.
After COVID shut down the season last year, the Cloverdale Community Football Association is set to begin practices for the 2021 season on July 6. Registration is now open for kids aged 5-18. Practices take place at Cloverdale Athletic Park.
“We’ve got fingers crossed and high hopes that provincial health orders won’t change and that we can start our season as scheduled,” said Yeera Sami, president of the Cloverdale Community Football Association. “Especially after the shutdown last a year, it was very challenging.”
Sami said everything is ready to go and his staff is set to hit the start button on season 2021.
“We have guidelines from the provincial health office,” added Sami. “We’ll be following those. Things like cleaning protocols, social distancing, keeping parents away. Not everyone supports that.”
He said it’s not an easy task dealing with people’s opinions and views on COVID.
“We have additional rules that we have to police parents while providing programming for the kids,” explained Sami. “It creates a totally different environment to work in, especially for volunteers. And there is no paycheque.”
Sami said the rules are contradictory in some ways. He said strangers in a park can watch the kids play football, but parents can’t. And this has caused him grief in the past.
“It’s a contradiction, but the rules are the rules. Unfortunately, it’s placed on our shoulders to abide by it, but we can only do so much.”
Sami said CCFA structures their practice schedule to make it easy for parents. He said practices are always at the same time and on the same days, with flag football practices being one hour and tackle practices being two.
“Both fall flag and tackle (teams) practice Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, with games usually on Sundays. Practices are between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. depending on the team assignment.”
He said Saturday morning practices run between 8 a.m. and 12 noon from July to Aug., with practices moving to between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. from Sept. to Dec.
Sami said any parent thinking about registering their child can visit cloverdalefootball.ca to sign up.
“I would highly encourage parents to sign up their kids,” added Sami. “Football is affordable and we provide all the gear and padding. All the kids have to bring are a pair of cleats.”
He also said the kids get a lot of instructional time per week, six hours over three days, during the five-month season.
“The number of hours of participation is very high, compared to other sports.”
Sami said football has changed quite a bit in recent years. There’s been a lot of changes to increase player safety, including advanced safety protocols, better training for coaches, better training practices, better awareness, and a lot of information is available about concussions and concussion prevention.
He said the fear over safety issues has lowered registrations across B.C.
“Before COVID, we’d try to encourage parents who weren’t sure if they wanted to sign up their child to come out and watch a practice. They will see we put player safety first. We promote all the safety principles as taught by Football Canada.”
He said players with the Cloverdale Community Football Association are in a very safe place at practices and those training sessions prepare them well for games.
“Football can be as safe as any other sport, but it takes proper coaching skills so kids are prepared to play full contact. We have the coaches for that.”
The Cloverdale Community Football Association competes in the Vancouver Mainland Football League in six divisions: Atom Flag (8 & 9), Atom Tackle (8 & 9), Pee Wee (10 & 11), Junior Bantam (12 & 13), Bantam (14 & 15), and Midget (16 – 18). CCFA also has an in-house flag league for kids ages 5 – 7. And CCFA also has a cheerleading team.