By Adel Ahmed
With the Ooks home soccer field being demolished by LRT construction, the team now has a temporary home field. The only problem is, it’s outside of the city.
For this season, Ooks home soccer games will take place at the Edmonton Scottish Society, a 30-minute drive from campus.
Third-year forward Toni Burse says her teammates have to leave home or school early in order to show up to practices on time.
“We have to leave an hour before practice actually starts to get there 30 minutes early and to beat as much traffic as we can. Our coach has asked us if we wanted to do earlier start times,” said Burse.
“However, some girls are doing schoolwork from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and then grabbing something to eat before practice or a game. The commute is a little bit tricky, but at least we do have a space to play. It would be much easier for a five-minute walk than a 30-minute drive.”
Despite the inconvenience that the long commute may cause the players, NAIT Athletics Manager, Jordan Richey, says the team would’ve had to commute far regardless.
“Before the pandemic started, our previous field at NAIT was in really rough shape, so we had to look elsewhere to play,” Richey said.
“The problem with city fields is quite often there’s high school football going on during weekends which is when we play our games. You don’t have a lot of options when booking with the city for the time frames we need, so we were forced to look outside the city,” said Richey.
“We approached some of the private clubs, but unfortunately, none of them were close. The advantage we picked with [Edmonton Scottish Society] is they have an indoor dome. With our soccer season going into September, October and into Nationals in November, having an indoor dome in case it snows, or the weather changes on us in a heartbeat was good.”
Moving forward, Richey says there is no finalized plan on a future home for NAIT soccer.
“We will be at [Edmonton Scottish Society] for the year and see how it goes, and then we’re going to poll our student-athletes and even our competitors to see what their thoughts are, and then we’ll make some decisions moving forward.”