Innisfail Minor Football Association is looking for player interest and volunteer support. Photo via Innisfail Minor Football/Facebook

Innisfail Minor Football Association teams may collapse if volunteers don’t step up

It takes a community to raise a football child.

That’s the message from the officials at the Innisfail Minor Football Association (IMFA) who are asking football parents, volunteers and the entire community to step up so the peewee and bantam programs do not fold.

Members have called an emergency meeting on March 28 to measure the support and interest for the upcoming fall season.

The league has strong numbers in atom football but struggle when it comes to filling peewee and bantam rosters and finding volunteers.

Kim Thompson, IMFA vice president, said if there isn’t enough player interest or volunteer support, the two teams could fold.

She said each team according to Football Alberta should have about 25 players, but last season, about 18 and 17 players made the peewee and bantam teams respectively.

This year, the association is looking to fill a minimum of 25-player roster for both peewee and bantam and a minimum of an 18-player roster for the atom team.

Katrina Nickel, an Innisfail resident and a mom of two young football players, said her oldest son Taylor Nickel, 12, would be devastated if the football programs shut down. He will play on the bantam team in the upcoming season.

Nickel has filled various volunteer positions in the last three years. She has seen a need for more volunteers.

“Between the three teams it’s the same 15 parents who do it over and over again,” she said.

Since Taylor started playing football, about three years ago, she has seen a change in her son’s attitude. She said the team players or “brothers” look out for each other even outside of the football field.

The game has also brought upon a change in her younger son, Carmine Nickel, 10, who will play on the peewee team this year.

About 15 people attended the association’s annual general meeting on Feb. 28. About 11 people signed up for volunteer positions but that number is too low to run three teams.

Thompson said each of the three teams need two coaches and an assistant coach.

The association also needs to fill board member positions like treasurer, secretary and equipment manager that are currently empty.

“Four to five positions need to be filled at the board level,” she said.

As for volunteers, each team needs a team manager and about five volunteers to run the three to four home games per season.

She said involvement is low because families may be worried about injuries or they end up moving. She added that the association asks volunteers to commit for two years which is “big volunteer commitment.”

“I believe people are not as easy to volunteer, people just think I’ll sign my volunteer cheque and you go ahead and cash it,” she said.

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