The acting president for Estevan Youth Soccer is optimistic about what the success of the national men's soccer team could mean for the sport here in southeastern Saskatchewan.
Canada's men's team qualified for the 2022 World Cup earlier this year.
"I would hope that it has a positive impact, and gets more kids out there playing, and seeing the Canadian men's national team playing and seeing how well they did and all the adversity that they had to overcome, winning 20 games in order to qualify," said Stacy Murphy of Estevan Youth Soccer.
"And if you put in that hard work, that you could possibly be one of those Canadian players in the future, so I'd hope it increases our registration numbers and gets more kids out on the field," she said.
The success of the men's program comes on the heels of the women's team winning a gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics, a first for Canada. Murphy gave her reasons for why the country is having success at the highest level.
"I think that investment in the programming and the training is what has made it possible, and if we can filter that down through the grassroots levels...to let kids from small town Saskatchewan join the national team would be amazing," she said.
Murphy added that the women's win, which was actually in the summer of 2021 due to the pandemic delay, had a positive impact on registration, and she hopes to see a similar story this year, especially with COVID-19 restrictions being eased.
"We're hoping with those being lifted that we'll see an increase not only in male registrations, but also female registrations as well too."
Murphy said she's optimistic that they can get back up to pre-pandemic registration numbers, which were in the neighbourhood of 300 kids.
Registration for youth soccer in Estevan is open until April 15.
Canada will be in a group with Belgium, Croatia, and Morocco at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.