Members of a team jump for joy after winning a soccer bowling-type drill during a She Can clinic hosted by Surrey FC association at Newton Athletic Park on Monday afternoon (March 22). The spring break camp aims to get more Surrey-area girls playing the game. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Members of a team jump for joy after winning a soccer bowling-type drill during a She Can clinic hosted by Surrey FC association at Newton Athletic Park on Monday afternoon (March 22). The spring break camp aims to get more Surrey-area girls playing the game. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Surrey FC’s soccer goals: Nationals, BCSPL start, and getting more girls to play the game

Newton-based club named host of national championships, launches She Can program

Surrey is very much on Canada Soccer’s radar as a host city of national championships over the next few years.

At Newton Athletic Park, Surrey Football Club (FC) is set to stage the U17 Cup in 2022 and the Challenge/Jubilee adult tournaments in 2024, after the game’s national governing body announced host venues for three future editions of its Toyota National Championships last Thursday (March 18).

It’s exciting news for the Newton-based association, which is already slated to host the 2021 national club championships for men and women this fall – if and when the tournaments happen, due to COVID-19 concerns.

“That will be decided soon, and a lot of things have to fall into place first,” said Sarb Lidder, the club’s executive director. “Canada Soccer wants it to happen, and so do we, but there are so many logistics involved, making sure it’s safe, travel restrictions, how the provincial and territory champs will be decided before then. We’re hoping to get some good news at the end of June.”

(Story continues below)

On Monday (March 22), executive members of the club gathered at the athletic park to see the She Can program launch, with the goal of getting more girls playing soccer.

Delta resident Jasmine Mander started playing the game in Surrey at age four, and is now a performance analyst with Canada’s national team.

“Surrey FC reached out and asked me to be part of the program, an ambassador, and I was really excited to promote girls soccer in this community like this,” said Mander, a former Whitecaps FC BMO Academy System coach.

“It’s a great initiative to get girls playing the game, get them involved — some of them for the first time and also to keep some active during spring break. Anytime you get girls like this together, it’s fun, and I love being involved, especially in my home town.”

Mander said she attended many soccer camps as a young player.

“They were always fun, spending long days with your buddies,” she recalled. “This is where friendships form, at camps and spring teams, the jamborees. Those are some of my favourite times playing soccer. And seeing the young ones come in today, laughing and joking, I smile because I know those friendships will last, for years to come.”

During the spring break camp, the girls are separated into groups and spend time at various stations, including one involving a “soccer bowling” type of game.

(Story continues below)

The She Can program also gives the club’s older girls a chance to teach younger ones.

“We’re here teaching our older players how to teach, mentoring them, so it’s a bit of both,” said Paul Bahia, Surrey FC’s technical director. “The program benefits everyone here.”

Bahia has a young daughter, and has coached girls teams over the past decade.

“I think girls are quitting earlier, in all sports, not just soccer,” he said. “I’ve seen a dropoff. Sport is kind of forgotten sometimes, so we’re here to show the girls what the game of soccer can bring them — friendships, the character and life values it can build, and also show the parents that. It all goes a long way.”

Surrey FC’s spring season gets going after Easter and with it, the first steps of the association’s entry into the high-level BC Soccer Premier League (BCSPL).

Last September, the club was the lone B.C. recipient of five new National Youth Club licences announced by Canada Soccer, paving the way for entry into the BCSPL. To start, Surrey FC will field two B.C. Premier League teams involving 2009-born boys and girls, at the U13 level.

“Our first BCSPL teams will start training next week,” Bahia said. “We weren’t allowed to do tryouts, with COVID, so it’s an awkward year, the start of it, but I think it’s been like that for everybody, all clubs.”

Surrey FC president Sim Sumra said the club is excited about recent initiatives, including nationals, its arrival in BCSPL and also the She Can program.

“We’re also open to new players coming in, new registrations,” Sumra said. “We’re online, of course, and that’s ongoing. Especially during COVID it’s great to get the kids out on an open field right now, get them active. We hope that once games are allowed, we’ll see more kids get involved again, because the kids just want to play the games.”

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Artist’s image of the tower proposed for 10761 King George Boulevard, looking from the northeast. (Chris Dikeakos Architects Inc.,
Surrey council approves 54-storey residential tower for city centre

The tower’s 479 residential units are expected to be ready for occupancy by early 2026

Surrey RCMP are seeking the public's help to locate three puppies stolen from a South Surrey home on April 10. (Surrey RCMP photos)
Puppies stolen during weekend break-and-enter in South Surrey

Surrey RCMP seeking public’s assistance in locating three American Bulldog puppies

The Round Up Cafe has operated for more than six decades at 10449 King George Boulevard, Surrey. (File photo)
Surrey’s Round Up Cafe is set to close for good, after 60 years of feeding people

Cooking school might open in the Whalley space, manager says, but no firm plan yet

(File photo)
Surrey’s OCC fielded calls from 305,000 people in 2020, an ‘unusual’ year of fewer such calls

The numbers were released Monday in recognition of Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

The Delta Fire Fighters Healthy Snack Program is a new initiative launched in March by the Delta Fire Fighter and Charitable Society. The program currently supports six North Delta schools and will be expanding to many more schools in both North and South Delta in September. (Submitted photo)
Delta firefighters kick off school healthy snack program

Program currently supports six North Delta schools, with plans to expand across Delta come September

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Most Read