State of Soccer in Thunder Bay

Posted 9 December 2016 by in Featured

THUNDER BAY – LETTERS – I have been hesitant to say anything on the current status of Soccer in our community. It seems to be that in today’s society especially through social media when something is said or done that it is immediately attacked.

What I am about to say is not intended be a “shot” at any other programming or group in Thunder Bay. I want to portray the positive impact of Soccer and how many lives it affects in our City and how although it has one of if not the highest user rates, it has been given little to no attention from our City.

As a Soccer community we have been trying to bring the issues we face to the City and as of today we are in worse shape than we may have ever been.

Our very few outdoor soccer fields we have are in complete disrepair.

They are unsafe and unfit to play on.

The City hired an outside consulting company to analyze our fields and they laughed at them. When I walked in to meet with them I was greeted with “don’t worry, we know how bad it is”.

I believe this was 4-5 years ago. Yet here we are today and still nothing.

Our Soccer community has grown so much that we cannot accommodate everyone that wants to play. We are at the point that even after we lengthen the seasons and shorten the amounts of games played we still have to turn entire teams down because we do not have the space or time.

Now with the collapse of the Sports Dome we have no where to play.

The soccer clubs are scrambling figuring out how to get the programming in by using basketball courts, old tennis courts at the bubble, school gyms and what very little time is available at the LU hanger.

None of these is adequate or ideal. I do have to say that I am optimistic. I do believe the City is realizing how poor the conditions and availability for Soccer is in Thunder Bay.

Through the “Fit Together Recreation and facilities Plan” and the “Chapples Recreation Area Master Plan” our issues have been brought to light. Where I am worried is timelines. These plans are a 12-15 year plans…. we needed proper facilities and field 12-15 years ago.

This needs to be a priority in our city.

Imagine telling the hockey community they had to go play on basketball courts, or the baseball groups they had in open fields with no fencing or dugouts or the football groups that had to play on pavement. This would be unheard of.

Our Soccer Community is one of if not the largest groups in Thunder Bay. All of this does not only affect the participants. What about the parents and grandparents who love to come watch their children play. Or the friends, children, husbands and wives who come to support one another, the countless children who receive scholarships and bursaries. This doesn’t even take into account the many coaches, referees and volunteers who give their time to help provide a good environment for children to be active, develop a sense of team and community. To the City of Thunder Bay, we need your help.

We need the facilities and fields now. Please show your support by letting the city know how this is has and will affect you. Let’s be positive and supportive as if this work is done, it will eventually have a positive impact on everyone.

Michael Veneziale