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Coronavirus impact on team sports forces permanent closure of Calgary North Soccer Centre

The Calgary North Soccer Centre is closing permanently as ongoing coronavirus restrictions hold back participation in team sports.

The facility posted to its website that it would be permanently closed beginning June 1. They had also posted to the Sport Calgary site May 19.

While the facility had been shuttered because of public health rules applied to all recreation buildings in Alberta, operator Lance Humeniuk said the lack of clear timelines on the return to team sports cemented his decision.

“The new normal will certainly impact our ability to operate to the capacity that is required for this organization to be viable, and effective June 1st, we have decided to close the doors,” the post read.  

“Please know that we do not take this decision lightly as this is a huge set back both personally and for the vision of developing better outcomes and better soccer awareness.”

The building is located just south of FlyYYC and adjacent to McCall Lake Golf Course. It currently houses 10 indoor fields, office areas, change rooms and washrooms.

According to the Sport Calgary post, Humeniuk had opened the doors for the first season this past winter. Their website said that they wanted to create a space for Calgarians to train for soccer during the winter months.

In a direct email response to our questions, Humeniuk said abrupt health-triggered closure signalled the end for the facility.

“This sudden stop has made it impossible for planning or finding a clear path in the short term,” he wrote.

Future for CNSC?

Humeniuk said that right now it’s going to take some patience before figuring out what’s next for the centre.

He said it’s built up a community of dedicated teams, coaches, players and their families in such a short time.  Humeniuk said they’ll weigh a host of options including team sessions, club structure, and how they might be able to operate in a post-COVID world.

“These are still early days and there is not enough information for everyone to have a clear plan of action when it comes to group activity and youth sports just yet,” he wrote.   

“As more emerges and we all learn from a gradual reopening, it will be time to revisit what is possible.”

Steve Poissant operates the Fusion adult co-ed soccer league in the city. This past season they ran with eight teams in the league.  

He said they’d got word of the permanent closure recently.

“It’s sad to see a new site go from the inventory,” he said.

“I think just the economics of it, the impact of COVID, is not making it worthwhile for them.”

The Calgary Minor Soccer Association said they didn’t operate out of the private facility but echoed Poissant’s sentiment.

“It’s always disappointing to see facilities close,” said Kara Spady with CMSA.

Summer of learning

Relaxation of the restrictions on team sports are being contemplated. In Calgary, they’ve said individual drill sessions can take place in sports where you don’t use your hands to touch the same ball.

The province’s relaunch plan doesn’t have indoor recreation facilities opening up until Stage 3. That could be the end of the summer. Even with that, restrictions are expected to be in place.

Humeniuk said he’s going to take some time to assess the next steps. He called it a summer of learning.

“That being said, we are all wading through the current uncertainty, weighing options, and waiting to see what unfolds,” he wrote.

“…There are plenty of things that need to be figured out and factored in as we move forward, and we are all waiting for and reacting to the best information as it emerges!”