Amidst the pandemic and all the uncertainties that follow, Sylvan Lake Minor Football Association (SLMFA) has proven to stand strongly united, flexibly navigating the situations and pursuing the sport in a safe manner.
Minor football runs four teams, Tigers (Atom) for ages 9-10, Bears (Pee Wee) for ages 11-12, Lion (Bantam) for ages 13-14, and HJ Cody Lakers (High School) for students from grade 10 to 12.
Bantam head coach Geoff Rambaut said, “We have a full coaching staff on all the teams and it’s a testament to the organization, and especially given the year and everything, it’s nice to give kids something to look forward to and come out and play on the field, do something they enjoy.”
The teams typically have a spring camp every May to introduce players to the basics of the sport, with their formal season running from mid-August to mid-November.
“I think football and sports in general across the province, and probably across Canada, have seen a decline in involvement. Sylvan Lake started off in August with low enrollment and we’ve been fortunate enough that as the season started to progress, we filled out pretty well, and three of our teams have closed registrations now because of the lack of equipment. So, the year looked a little bit dire, but we were very fortunate to fill out all of our trainers, and we were able to run with a full team for all of our teams basically.”
The association consists of about 25 coaching and training staff. Rambaut said that their success in the field reflects all the hard work and dedication put in by coaches, staff, and the athletes that have continued to come out and play for the last two months.
“From an organizational standpoint, we’ve done very well. We’ve had to adapt to playing nine-man football, 12-man football, rescheduling things on a week-to-week basis and we’ve handled that very well,” said Rambaut, adding, “We’re having success on the field and we are also successful off the field, and that’s huge.”
Rambaut said minor football always welcomes volunteers and sponsors. With certain skill requirements, they are also looking to add more coaches to their teams, shared Rambaut.
“We are very set up for this season, but we are always looking for more volunteers to be involved going forward,” said Rambaut. “In terms of sponsorship, we are always willing to make community contacts and partnerships that way. We’ve had a couple of partners in the local area that have come out and supported us in the past and we continue to work on improving those relationships as well,” he added.
Rambaut appreciates the continued input from parent volunteers, who assist with the functioning of numerous important things on the sidelines during games.
Those looking to connect with Sylvan Lake Minor Football Association, to play, sponsor, or volunteer, can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information regarding the association can be found on their website, at www.slmfa.com.
“Next season is the 25th anniversary of minor football in Sylvan Lake, and so, we are definitely looking to see our fields full again, and definitely continue the community partnerships that we’ve created in the last 24 seasons. We’ve been very blessed having built a very strong organization in Sylvan Lake and I think it is reflected in the strength of our program this year. We are looking to building that into the future,” Rambaut concluded.