All Things Spartan
Spartan Newsletter July 2021
These are exciting times as we return to normal. No one knows how long this will take or what blips there may be on the horizon. Lots to address as we move cautiously along the hesitancy road. Many leagues were forced to cannibalize teams to provide some form of soccer fun during the summer. This has been tough on all of us in the soccer community.
Our new programs have addressed many things that players are looking for. We are excited to debut our new Open Mens on July 8 and COED on July 11 played exclusively on artificial turf for 2 regulated games weekly on Sunday and Thursday evenings. Our Daily Cohort program has been active for almost a month and we have hosted footie weekly in Edmonton and St. Albert for hundreds of Spartans, friends, and new recruits. Please check our videos and pictures on our social media channels.
Summer Programs Links
Daily Cohorts: $50/month
For those who want to check us out or too busy to join a team.
Link: Daily Cohorts
Sun & Thurs – 2 games/week
For those players joining any COED team.
Link: COED Players
Open Mens: $100/month
Sun & Thurs – 2 game/week
For those players joining any Open Mens team.
Link: Open Mens Player
Players registered in COED or Open Mens get the Daily Cohorts included. Also, players may sub for free on other teams when requested.
If you are a player/team looking to join our programs, we have a rapid onboarding system that can add new players/teams in minutes. Everything we have done since inception has been online. We introduced the first player image game sheets on iPads for all referees for the region. You will never need a player card. Also, our player mobile app system is ad free and clean of any distractions.
Please check our training programs for youth and adults. We also offer such for families to train together, too. We are adding a new COED program 1x week soon. Interested players/teams please contact us ASAP.
Youth, Adult, And GK Training
Basics and Advanced to introduce or prepare you for soccer.
Link: Training Programs
Private Video Conference
Want to find out more, how to add your team, club, or league to Spartan? Do you need tournament sanctioning or game officials? Send us an email for a private video conference and learn about all the things we can do for you. Contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org
Spartan Soccer June 2021 Newsletter
It is good to see the recent announcement by the Government! It is optimistic, gives us a light at the end of the tunnel, and we all need a dose of that. However, there are definitely a number of hurdles we need to cross before there is a return to what we consider normal. There is a lot of urgency created by pandemic stress, and a cautious approach is also needed to return to sport safely.
A few prominent concerns include:
- Hesitancy to return—this is expected and normal among players;
- An increased risk of injury—since many have been less than active during the pandemic and may not be ready (and rushing into full action is typically when more serious injuries occur);
- Opportunity for players to have a slower, steady and cautious return—having a method to return without over-pushing the intensity; as no one wants is to jump back into the thick of things and get injured;
- With all the time off, there is a lot of pent up energy, stress and frustration of not playing/being physically active, and this naturally creates urgency to be the weekend warrior (and we want to be safe); and
- Everyone must be wary of rushing back or risk messing up the whole summer nursing injuries.
To assist in this transition, Spartan Soccer has developed several programs and added new initiatives to expand the soccer community and safely prepare players for return to action. Our programs were designed to be compressed in short format and can be easily launched by anyone looking to get back to regular intensity (or just to be/become active. We can also adjust as needed during season based upon Alberta Health Services (AHS) mandates, in case rules change and we are required to focus on any further delays in schedule. We have also heard from many of you, and from athletic and medical professionals, that our approach is suitable and appealing. We have incorporated many suggestions into the development of our programs.
Spartan Soccer wants to expand the game in our region, and we are introducing more programs to get people to experience the sport. In addition to the Adult Basics and Advanced programs, we now offer Goal Keeper training for all ages.
Players now have more soccer opportunities with Spartan. Check out the program grid in the 2021 Season. We have also set up our programs to better accommodate families, lifestyles, availability, skill levels, fitness and accessibility.
New Partner Organization/Member
Spartan Soccer welcomes Powerplay FC Juniors into the Spartan Soccer Association. This organization provides sports introduction for ages 3-6 in a specialized indoor course. Please see more about its program for further information and registration at PowerPlay FC Juniors.
Hit & Run Accident – Please Help
One of or Spartans was injured in a hit & run accident recently. Many of you will know Mike Strome. He is an amazing person, filled with kindness, and a rock solid keeper who has helped many teams. His partner is Lana Heyman, another Spartan. Please review his GoFundMe page at Michael Strome – gofund.me for information and how to help. Also, kindly share this link far and wide.
Private Video Conference
We are hosting a private video conference to cover all things Spartan:
- Friday June 11, 2021 at 7PM: specifically for teams, reps, and clubs only.
- Monday June 14, 2021 at 7PM: players only (everyone is welcome).
Send your request to join the meeting to email@example.com (if you are registering on behalf of a team or club you represent, please let us know).
House Keeping – New Recruits
A big thanks to the many of you who have added/sent us new recruits. As you know we respond quickly. However, some contacts are not responding back; can you check in with your contacts and let them know/check to see if our emails are in their Spam folder.
May 2021 Newsletter
Hello from Spartan Soccer! With the current pandemic, everything is still up in the air on when we can return to sport programs. Alberta Health Services (AHS) has not advanced past stage two and we are currently in the midst of a third wave. It is frustrating, but we must be safe!
Return ready to play
Even though we’re not sure when we’ll return to the pitch, plans are being made. Another reality is being ready when returning to the great game, and making sure you are prepared and ready. Most of us haven’t played or had a chance to properly work out in SO long, that conditioning is low and injury risk is much higher. Most of us are ready to get out there and engage at higher pace, fuelled by elation for a return, frustration from not playing, and angst—it means stress levels are high and it sucks. It is hard on all of us. But when we return to play, it would be irresponsible to rush into full high-intensity games; starting slow and working towards higher pace is a safe option to build up intensity.
At this point, since most of us are not conditioned for high-level competitive play yet, we felt the introduction to an open program will do the trick. This helps everyone in acclimatizing for a return to regular soccer in the fall—something we all assume and hope will happen. We just want to play, run, laugh (and). Repeat.
Most importantly, we must be careful upon return in order to limit and prevent any personal setbacks and risk of severe injuries. What makes me sad, is hearing that there are some players may never return to soccer, even after the pandemic. I feel this is a path to be limited at all costs, and we’re looking at all options to make it easy for everyone to return to soccer.
COVID-19 restrictions have been challenging
I understand that depression, anxiety and new realities have hit many of us, and this has affected us in challenging ways. Things will get better. We will get past this. Hang in there.
You can do this! We are here for support and only a phone call or email away if you need to talk.
The great game is the outlet for all of us. It puts us in a zone of joy and thrill. We’ve experienced a lot of laughter, fun times and drinks post-games with friends—new and old, and this has always blessed us during the pandemic. In 2020, we hosted over 200 outdoor games for nearly 300 cohorts. It helped all of us. The plan is to do that again in 2021 and grow our ranks further. Tell your friends to join us. We are good soccer peeps!
Feedback from our program for this year has been good. Players are registering and teams are forming. We’ve even come up with enhancements to make it easier than before.
We need your help
Most people want to play, so we are looking for reps to step up and take lead of some of our teams. It’s not hard work, and we have apps that make it easy. You just need a good attitude and the rest just happens—we’ll work with you if you are willing to do this, so please step up.
Spartan Soccer is planning a pandemic program
Our program allows you to enjoy lots of soccer in a four-week period (called a flight), then a one-week break. Then you continue with your team for another four weeks (if you wish). We’ve designed this as a four week program in case we get hit with another shut down, pauses or other regulated changes. While we don’t think that will happen currently, we want to be prepared.
Fortunately, since the vaccine programs are becoming more accessible, and a return to the new normal is on the horizon; if we do face a hard shut down, it will only be for a 3-4 week period (as often noted by Alberta Health Services). Our program allows us to pivot quickly without fuss, and we are fully committed to following AHS regulations and rules.
All leagues have been hit with about a 60 per cent attrition in teams. It has devastated the soccer community everywhere. We were lucky to have the only sanctioned league active in summer 2020 (our Spartan cohort program). Some of the other leagues did have splintered training programs in place; however, there was nothing viable happening at a sanctioned (monitored) level. We did our best. It was hard on everyone, but at least there was some form of soccer that everyone enjoyed.
New youth option
As part of our return for 2021 we also added a new youth program. A unique training program for boys or girls (but not mixed). This week our registration system will be updated with the new options. We heard what you want to see, and added suggestions from the ranks of Spartan. We are delivering.
Spartan March 2021 Spring Update
With the current regulations and phased-in approach from Alberta Health Services (AHS), we anticipate 2021 adult soccer to be similar to 2020. As you may recall, all sanctioned leagues in Alberta were not allowed to provide a regular season and were shut down. This shut down gave opportunity for the non-sanctioned soccer to gain players desperately looking for footie action—and the Spartan league offered and coordinated free cohort soccer as the right thing to do, giving players an outlet to cope during the pandemic. It was more important we gave back to our community instead of focusing on creating a regular season soccer. For those who participated in the cohort soccer, this was a successful option, where games were offered every day in locations across the region.
To speak honestly, the pandemic hurt all rosters in every league. When soccer leagues were created, teams that were able to form, consisted of players made up of many other teams, and then seasons were cancelled as we navigated Covid-19 protocols. And still, many other players (with over 50 per cent of players registered in previous seasons) remained cautious for themselves and loved ones during the crisis, and chose not to participate in any sort of league play—even though outdoor soccer is significantly safer than indoor.
As the province navigated cohort regulations, the recent winter indoor season witnessed an attempt (by a number of organizations) to cater to adult soccer needs, and leagues were formed. This was short lived, and seasons were cancelled as the province went into lockdown this winter; leaving many people left in the cold about league fees and participation.
It was an interesting contrast to see teams form for indoors, a much riskier prospect than outdoors; but obviously, frustration pushed players. Despite best efforts, the infection and exposure numbers climbed across the province and, as expected, everything shutdown. This was not easy on any of us.
Spartan chose to not launch an indoor season for Winter 2020 (too risky). We did continue with our outdoor program during the fall/winter and introduced snow soccer and soccer under the lights. Since this was significantly safer than indoor activity (and was monitored to ensure we followed AHS regulations), we were among the last action when all else was shut down.
As AHS restrictions increased, we adapted, and changed our offerings to hiking, and then eventually, a complete shut down. And now, as restrictions are lifted and closer to phase two of AHS relaunch plans, hiking has been revived; we anticipate an outdoor easement in the next month or two so we can return to snow and cohort soccer as the weather changes.
Based upon the success of our coed cohort program in 2020, almost 300 players were split into cohort groups across the city; we played more than 200 games without subs, for 90+ minutes more often than not (with water breaks as needed). Most nights saw 12 vs. 12 games in a cross-field format without keepers. We even had two games running simultaneously (side-by-side) in a 10 vs. 10 format.
Players adapted and adopted the system. It worked.
Cohort Soccer was laughs, fun, in a relaxed environment, with great and safe soccer. Newer players were mentored by more experienced players. Everyone was encouraged and given opportunities to have fun.
All were welcome. Many claimed us as the best soccer around. People just wanted footie, laughs, quality soccer and a chance to keep up fitness in a safe and fun setting.
Spartan Soccer delivered.
From this, we designed a new season that allowed participants to play as often as possible under the Spartan banner. We want you with us!