The Edward Milne community school football program held their first awards banquet to acknowledge the work of coaches, volunteers and players on Dec. 8 at the Sooke Legion.
Although the season was marred with losses for the junior and senior EMCS Wolverines, Richard Whiteley, program head coach, commended their unbridled sportsmanship.
“If it gets bad you expect kids to start leaving, but the team we started with is the team we finished with and that says a lot to me for their fortitude and their ability to overcome,” he said.
“I’m proud of everybody. They worked hard and we saw growth in both the senior and junior teams.”
Whiteley said the season was a learning experience for players and coaches, who are currently planning for positive changes, including a more flexible system and new offensive strategy.
“I came into it with a certain concept of football that I thought would work and it didn’t, and that one’s on me,” Whiteley said.
“We’re going back to the drawing board, we’re approaching it from a let’s keep it simpler, let’s give them a chance to shine as athletes rather than confuse them with strategy.”
One of the biggest challenges currently facing the program is a lack of numbers for coaches, volunteers and players.
There are currently 30 players for the junior team as a result of a strong community program with the Sooke Seahawks.
But the senior team has players graduating and moving on, leaving a roster of only eight players with experience on the field.
Whiteley said fielding a team would only lead to the recruitment of 12 inexperienced players, who would subsequently go up against teams with 2-8 years experience.
“Eight years experience against a player that only has one, it makes a big difference,” he said.
Despite a tough season, all players were congratulated for their grit and perseverance.
To volunteer as a coach or support person, contact Whiteley at: email@example.com.