With a regional return-to-play plan now approval, the White Rock-South Surrey Titans minor football association has turned its attention to the next step – getting players signed up to play.
The organization – which includes players from five to 18 years old – has opened registration for the coming season, and practices will begin next week.
Teams in all divisions – from flag to midget – are expected to be set by Aug. 1, with games beginning on Labour Day weekend. Flag division is for players aged five to seven years old; atom flag is for eight and nine year olds; peewee is 10-11 year-olds; junior bantam is for those 12 and 13 years old; bantam is for 14-15 year olds and midget is for players 16-18.
Currently, special ‘early bird’ fees are in place until July 15, association registrar Tina Giustino added.
When football does resume later this summer, it will look quite different than in past seasons. For starters, at all levels of the Vancouver Mainland Football League, games will features nine players per side, as opposed to the traditional 12, and coaching staffs will also be limited on the sidelines.
With smaller rosters, available spots are expected to fill quickly, Giustino noted.
Even pre-pandemic, nine-per-side football has been popular in the VMFL, with White Rock being “famous for its nine-on-nine football” success, VMFL president Kevin Parks noted to Peace Arch News last month.
Other COVID-19 safety protocols include new face shields for players, frequent cleaning and sterilization of in-game footballs, and the requirement for players to wear gloves and long sleeves, among other new regulations.
The VMFL’s in-depth return-to-play guidelines were first designed by Parks, and then adjusted in consultation with other minor-football executive members before ultimately being approved by B.C. regulatory body ViaSport, Football Canada and the various health authorities involved.
The full return-to-play report can be viewed on the Titans’ official website, www.letsgotitans.com. Player registration can also be done on the same site.