While all of Ehrlo Sport Venture’s leagues are free-of-charge (including equipment), soccer is uniquely barrier free in a way that many other sports are not.
Sport Venture works to provide inner-city youth and families with control of, and access to, a variety of recreational programs in the city of Regina.
Offering barrier free sports means we see youth from all different backgrounds, including those who may have just recently immigrated to Canada. In 2016, approximately 30 per cent of our league participants were new Canadians with diverse backgrounds: Egyptian, Filipino, East African, Pakistani, Asian, Syrian, Turkish, and Eritrean were only some of those listed.
While we always focus on ensuring that everyone feels as comfortable and as included as possible, soccer is the league where this is potentially the easiest to do. Hockey, for example, is largely a North American pass-time – many immigrant children have never skated or don’t handle the cold well, and those with language barriers may have a hard time understanding some of the rules. Additionally, hockey requires certain weather – you can’t skate on ice that isn’t frozen.
Soccer, on the other hand, seems to be popular worldwide. Even children who have recently arrived in the country may know the basic rules of soccer because there’s a good chance they’ve played in their home countries.
Why is this? Because soccer is one of the most barrier-free sports there is. All you need is a bit of open space and a ball– and in plenty of cases, whatever is around that is kickable can be substituted! There’s no need to purchase expensive equipment or have a specialized playing surface like many sports require.
Overall, we believe that soccer is a vehicle for people of all backgrounds to come together around a shared experience – the love of or desire to learn soccer.
The Ehrlo Soccer League runs throughout July and August every year.