Moody Blues – 1978 (Inaugural) Playoff Champions
Back row: Judy, Cathy, Laurie, Siggi (Coach), Judy, Kim
Front row: Judy, Janet, Joanne, Rena, Kathy, Martha, Catherine, Sylvia
As with most minor soccer activities in North Bay, the main reason girls are playing the sport is due to the hard work and dedication of members of the Rapides Club. Because of the city’s ethnic groups, men’s soccer flourished during the 50’s and 60’s. However, there was never really anything available for the kids until the members of the Rapides Club stepped into action.
Many thanks must go out to such dedicated people as Les & Clive Wilkinson, Terry Chirgwin, Al Moore, Mike Widdop, Pat Graham and Jim Matthew. These were the people whose foresight laid the foundation of the North Bay Minor Soccer Association over a period of time from the mid 60’s to the early 70’s.
As more and more boys went through the various age groups, the girls also started to show an interest and in the spring of 1978, with the urging from perennial league president Les Wilkinson, invitations were sent to the high schools for girls interested in playing soccer. A meeting was held at Algonquin High School and six different groups (totalling 112 girls) attended. Four of the groups consisted of high school girls while the remaining groups were comprised mainly of girls in the workforce or ‘Soccer Wives/Mothers’.
In those early years, the ladies league flourished and grew at an amazing rate, starting with six teams in its first year and adding another division with six more teams in the second year. Unfortunately, due to a lack of people willing to coach or get involved with running a team, the league has had a roller coaster ride since those early years. The number of teams has varied anywhere from three to ten teams in any one year since the beginning.
Due to the early enthusiasm shown by the ladies, two divisions were formed for younger girls in 1981. The sport was still fairly new to girls and so the minor leagues had a rather modest beginning. Each group started with just three teams and spanned a four year age gap due to the lack of players available. The Atom/Mosquito division was for 9 to 12 year olds while the Peewee/Bantam division was for 13 to 16 year olds. Numbers have increased dramatically over the past years as there are now divisions for almost all age groups and, if not for a lack of FACILITIES and COACHES, this growth could be even more amazing.
There has also been a significant increase in the number of girls signing up for the ladies league over the past few seasons and so we’ve been able to once again run two divisions. This is a direct result of the success the minor league has seen over the last decade.
The rest as they say is history and if the past years are any indication, the future once again looks bright for girls soccer in North Bay.