Saskatchewan Soccer Association gets people in the game
Soccer is, first and foremost, a team game. In Saskatchewan, it’s a sport that draws thousands of people together from all walks of life who share a passion for the game. Saskatchewan Soccer Association (SSA) represents around 45,000 participants from 60 member organizations throughout the province.
“All participants are given the opportunity to achieve their goals through participating in soccer,” says SSA Executive Director Doug Pederson. “Soccer, naturally, is played throughout the world, so we are a sport that a lot of new Canadians gravitate to. Often the one thing they have in common with people in Canada is their love of soccer. The sport is truly bridging gaps so that newcomers can feel more at home by playing the sport they played in their own home country.”
The SSA’s mission is to be a dynamic and innovative organization, enriching lives through the development of strong relationships and the delivery of soccer programs and services of the highest quality.
“We aim to provide leadership and support in the delivery of first-class soccer programs and services in
Saskatchewan, developing individuals, creating community and supporting life-long participation in the sport,” explains Pederson. “We provide healthy, positive experiences for people to interact through soccer. The higher the quality of the program, the closer we are to achieving our mission.”
Pederson noted that the diversity in soccer throughout Saskatchewan can be seen in the World Cup soccer events hosted annually in Regina and Saskatoon. Each team represents a country and in some divisions there are at least 12 players of that particular heritage on the team. As Pederson explains, it’s a chance for people from all ethnic origins to interact, learn more about other cultures and, of course, enjoy competition.
Pederson says the SSA also has a great partnership with many First Nations groups across the province. Soccer is a sport that always plays a big part in First Nations Games and North American Indigenous Games. SSA works co-operatively with First Nations groups to provide more soccer opportunities and is currently in conversations with Île-à-la-Crosse about becoming a member.
Needless to say, the size and scope of the SSA makes the availability of Saskatchewan Lotteries funding through Sask Sport Inc. of vital importance.
“The availably of lottery funds makes a lot of our work possible. It has a tremendous impact and that impact spreads across to all our participants, indoor and outdoor,” says Pederson. “Whether these players are involved on the recreational level, are grassroots participants, are pursuing the national team, or are playing the sport for life, there is an opportunity available for them. I want to say thank you to lottery retailers. We take every dollar seriously and use it to benefit thousands of participants across the province. I couldn’t underestimate the benefit of lotteries.”
For more information on the Saskatchewan Soccer Association, go to www.sasksoccer.com.
Sport is more than a game. Visit the amateur sport federation’s website at www.sasksport.sk.ca for information on amateur sport in Saskatchewan and the many benefits of participating in sport.