Pelham Soccer Club player Leila takes aim during a practice session last week on E. L. Crossley's artificial turf. DON RICKERS

After the Covid-19 pandemic cancelled all summer sports in 2020, the Pelham Soccer Club is champing at the bit to get back into competition in 2021.

Erin Pasma, the association’s president, told the Voice that practises are well underway at natural grass playing fields located at Glynn A. Green Public School, Centennial Park, and Harold Black Park, and also on the synthetic turf field at E.L. Crossley.

“We started in March when the provincial government and Ontario Soccer allowed it, but then got shut down in April,” she said. “With a soggy spring, it was nice to have the artificial field at Crossley.”

Pelham Soccer offers seven divisions for children ages three through 17. Some are single-sex, others co-ed. There is a house league, as well as competitive travel teams which play in the Niagara soccer League against squads from surrounding municipalities. Some teams have made it to the Ontario championship tournament.

Typically, about 600 kids are involved, making it the largest sports group in Pelham.

Dave Hominuk, a chiropractor from Smithville, coaches an Under-11 girls competitive team, drawn mainly from Pelham, but with a few girls from outside the municipality.

“In the first phase of return-to-sports, social distancing is mandatory, and there’s no competing for the ball,” said Hominuk. It’s all about skill development…we make up games to keep it fun and entertaining.”

Hominuk has two daughters who play, and serves as convenor for the younger age groups.

“It’s a small community organization, but doesn’t run well without people like Erin and countless other volunteers,” he said. Those interested may register at pelhamsoccer.ca.