Posted on October 3, 2014 by Tia Lalani

Mixed adult indoor soccer has been a regular mainstay of amateur sports for the last twelve years.

From The Amateur Sports News

6139-Aug indoor soccerAccording to Franklin Foer’s fascinating exposé on soccer and globalization, soccer “is more deeply felt than religion, and just as much a part of the community’s fabric, a repository of traditions.” This is certainly true in Camrose, Alberta, where mixed adult indoor soccer has been a regular mainstay of amateur sports for the last twelve years. Every Wednesday night, between 9pm and 10:30pm, from mid-October to mid-April, games have been held in the Camrose Community Centre, a local historical landmark located on the grounds of Rudy Swanson Recreation Park. The Community Centre boasts facilities to meet the needs of most small- to medium-sized community organizations, and houses a wide variety of different programs, organizations, and initiatives. The original portion, the Drill Hall, was constructed in 1943 for military training purposes, but it was subsequently handed over to the City and converted to community use. In 2002, the Drill Hall was extensively renovated, and the Fieldhouse, complete with a walking track and indoor soccer pitch, was added.

For the first five years of its existence, the mixed adult soccer in Camrose was loosely organized by various individuals and catered primarily to male and female amateur soccer players living in Camrose and the surrounding area. Over the years, numbers began to dwindle, but fortunately, University of Alberta students enrolled at the Augustana Campus in Camrose started to show an interest. Students appreciate having a club that provides them with an activity in the middle of the week, especially in the dead of winter. In this way, the club contributes to student retention; it’s another campus activity that makes Augustana an attractive choice to students. International students, hailing from countries where soccer, or football, is the preferred sport, especially welcomed the opportunity to display their considerable football skills in a country where hockey is the norm. These students represent a wide range of nations, including Brazil, China, the Ivory Coast, Kenya, South Korea, and Turkey, to name but a few. This significant influx of student players successfully revived the soccer nights.

As student turn-out increased, the Augustana Soccer Club was formed which now benefits from the generosity of the Augustana Student Association which helps students pay Fieldhouse rental fees. As such, in 2012, adult mixed soccer and the Augustana Soccer Club were merged into one organization, the Camrose and Augustana Soccer Club (CASC), which has since served to foster town-gown relations between the city and the university campus. This allows students and Camrose community members, young and old, to interact and find common ground on the soccer field.

Besides facilitating interaction between Camrosians and Augustana students, the Camrose and Augustana Soccer Club has made meaningful contributions to the community and enhanced the profile of the campus. For the last two years, the Mouat Cup has been held two weeks before the end of classes to help raise money and food items for the Camrose Food Bank. The Mouat Cup, named after a faculty member who generously donates money to the club, pits Augustana Faculty/ Staff and Camrosians against Students, and provides a great opportunity for students and faculty to work out the mutual frustrations accumulated during the academic year! A second match, immediately following the Mouat Cup, is held between the Soccer Club and the Augustana Viking All-Stars, a collection of student athletes. There is a fee to play in these games, and the students and community members who come out to cheer on the teams, bring a non-perishable food donation.

This good will extends beyond the Fieldhouse and into the community when some student club members volunteer their services as soccer trainers for the Camrose and District Soccer Association and pass on their considerable skills to children in the U10-U12 divisions. CASC, is hoping to continue building ties with the Camrose and District Soccer Association, perhaps linking with the Augustana Learning, Advising, and Beyond Office to create some interesting Community Service Learning opportunities.

All-in-all, the Camrose and Augustana Soccer Club not only provides a fun and safe place to play indoor soccer, but also serves as a living connection to the heritage of the Camrose Community centre, and continues to bind the Augustana and Camrose communities closer together while fostering soccer skills, a sense of fair play, and leadership in future generations of soccer players.

Geraint Osborne, Co-organizer, Camrose and Augustana Soccer Club

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