Hundreds celebrate soccer in Saskatoon
Young players go head to head in Mini Festival of soccer, but the goal is not to win.
Hundreds of young soccer players in Saskatoon are celebrating the sport this weekend.
Saskatoon Youth Soccer is holding its annual Mini Festival of Soccer at the Sasktel Sports Centre.
Program coordinator, Octavian Iliuta, says the aim is to have fun.
"We don't have any standings. We don't have anything qualifying them," Iliuta said.
"We just want to make it all about the celebration and the enjoyment of playing soccer as opposed to committing to a certain result."
The players are between the ages of four and 10 and they are all currently playing in a youth soccer league.
Three-hundred-and-four community association teams in the city are participating. They will be playing 459 games.
Iliuta says the popularity of soccer continues to grow in Saskatchewan. He says four years ago there were about 130 teams of kids under 6. Now there are 175.
"It requires quite a bit of stamina, physical activity," he said. "It's very popular among our generation and it's just a fun sport."
But Illiuta adds it's important to get more kids in the game.
"The ultimate goal is that we want to put players on the national map as well," he said.
"When we have a large base of a pyramid we can have a lot players playing."
Iliuta says this year there are about 45,000 registered soccer players in Saskatchewan.