The new president of the Sooke Soccer Club has a big to-do list.
Not only has Laura Lockhart inherited a soccer organization with more than 340 players, she will also start work in earnest on fundraising for an all-weather turf field at Fred Milne Park. (See related story, page Axx)
The $1.6-million field would allow more than 1,000 soccer and baseball players to use Fred Milne Park year-round.
So far, local government has committed $1 million to the project: $700,000 from the District of Sooke and $300,000 from the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area. The other $600,000 will be raised through community fundraising, in-kind donations and grants.
The Sooke Soccer Club is one of the smallest organizations in the Lower Island Soccer League, and continues to lose players to other leagues due to the inability to play year-round in Sooke.
Lockhart wants to change the trend, and is working towards better coaching and more coordination at all levels.
“I know my workload will increase, but I also hope our volunteers will increase,” she said.
“We need to appoint several directors this year to micro manage the little, but big things to make the club successful.”
This season the soccer club has hired a technical coach to start development programs for all age divisions, and will work in conjunction with the Edward Milne Community School Soccer Academy.
There has also been a push to get players registered early for the fall season, so teams can be formed, and practice can begin sooner.
Lockhart said that strategy has worked with more players registered earlier than ever before.
The spring soccer program, which began under Lockhart’s watch two years ago, also sees big growth with more than 180 kids registered this year.
Lockhart has had a love affair for soccer since she laced up her first pair of cleats when she was seven years old. She continues to play in the women’s Over 30 league.
She became involved with the Sooke Soccer Club when she took on the assistant coach’s job of her daughter’s Under-9 team six years ago, and became the league’s vice-president in 2013.
“This year they asked me to run for president and I said, ‘Why not.’”
Lockhart replaces Robin Saxl, who served as president for eight years.