Dragons take flight in Kanata.
A new youth soccer club in Kanata will hold its first season starting next May.
The National Capital Industrial Soccer League this week announced the creation of the Kanata Dragons Athletic Club for recreational players between the ages of four and 18.
The Dragons will play on outdoor fields in Kanata used by the NCISL next year and use the 100-metre by 16-metre outdoor artificial-turf field at the Richcraft Recreation Complex, starting in 2014 when the recreation centre, now under construction, opens.
“It’s the first (outdoor) artificial turf that we have in Kanata,” said Kanata North Coun. Marianne Wilkinson. “We’re really, really pleased that we’re going to have the permanent field because they’re putting the money in the recreation complex to pay the difference between a grass field and artificial turf and for the lighting that goes with it.”
During its first year, the club expects to register up to 1,000 players, playing on 70 teams.
The soccer league has invested $720,000 to secure a 10-year lease on the use of the outdoor soccer field at the recreation centre; the city will be responsible for maintaining the field.
“We have room for over 1,000 (players) using existing NCISL fields,” said Tim Baigent, president of the NCISL. “When the turf field becomes available we’ll be able to increase that to 1,600.”
The field will have outdoor lights allowing play until 11 p.m. every night, with youth using the field until 8 p.m. and adults from 8 to 11 p.m.
“(The NCISL) get the last three hours of the day, that’s a benefit to us,” said Baigent.
The NCISL plans to contact local corporations to sell naming rights for the artificial field for a 10-year period, advertising on the field’s fence and hold soccer camps run by the Dragons to help pay its investment.
The field will have bleachers with a seating capacity of 100 people.
According to the city, an artificial field allows for more than 2,000 hours of use per year compared to the estimated 300 hours available on a grass field.
“It’s like the equivalent of building five new grass fields,” said Baigent.
The city will use the money to upgrade the field from grass to artificial turf.
The first year of the agreement the NCISL will receive approximately 500 hours and the city will rent the rest – an estimated 1,500 hours- plus, to other clubs and teams.
The agreement requires the NCISL to offer a program for youth, but it was unable to partner with existing leagues such as the West Ottawa Soccer Association.
“We never intended to run youth soccer, but we were unable to convince other clubs to participate in the investment,” said Baigent. “In the end we were forced … to create our own youth soccer organization.”
The Kanata Dragons will use the indoor gymnasium at the Richcraft Complex to allow children to participate in a variety of other sports such as basketball, volleyball and general fitness classes.
The cost to register a child with the Kanata Dragons will range from $99 to $139, depending on the player’s age, said Baigent.
Baigent said there will be some overlap with the programs offered by the West Ottawa Soccer Club, adding the Dragons had no plans to offer competitive programs.
“We’ve tried not to overlap as much as we can,” said Baigent.
The league will introduce the Dragons during an open house at the Bell Sensplex on Jan. 4 starting at 6 p.m., when it will invite children to suggest a name for the club’s dragon mascot.
The NCISL is an adult-only soccer league started in 1980 and plays on fields across the city including those at Mitel Networks Corp., Alcatel-Lucent, Insmill Park, Roland Michener Public School and Earl of March Secondary School.
The recreational league offers and indoor and outdoor programs and has more than 1,800 players.
In 2005, the NCISL started an indoor league using the field at the Bell Sensplex; it has grown to include 33 clubs and 70 teams.
For more information about the Kanata Dragons visit kanatadragons.com.