Skip to main content

Tag: Football Canada

Jack Simard, wearing a white and blue Mustangs football jersey catches a football while other players collide to his right.

Mustangs recruit enough athletes to field bantam football team

A few weeks ago, the Pincher Creek Mustangs football program was in jeopardy of being unable to field a team for the 2023-24 regular season because of changes to Football Canada’s roster rules.

Under the new rules, teams looking to compete in nine-a-side football needed 17 players registered before the season began, otherwise they’d be ineligible for regulation play.

Fortunately, the Mustangs were able to recruit enough players for their bantam team to compete in league action this year.

“We were thrilled to get the players we needed to field the bantam team,” says Faith Zachar, president of the Pincher Creek and District Mustangs Football Society.

“We had been recruiting since April when we had our Stamps Camp, and more recently, we started recruiting at all the schools and putting the word out on Facebook. When we finally came up with the last recruit we needed, we were just ecstatic.”

The team’s season opener was against the Lethbridge Rams Gold on Sept. 9 at the University of Lethbridge Stadium. Despite a solid effort, the Mustangs fell by a score of 34-6. 

Pincher Creek’s home opener was played this past Saturday at Matthew Halton Field, where the Mustangs faced the Lethbridge Coyotes in a nail-biter of a contest.

The Mustangs played well, even leading 14-0 partway through the third quarter, but the determined Coyotes mounted a comeback, capped by a touchdown with just 1.6 seconds left, to win the game 21-20.  

Despite the 0-2 record, Faith is thrilled with what she has seen from both new and returning Mustangs athletes on and off the field.

“They’re all so determined to play and help each other out, especially the ones returning to the team. You can tell they’re all becoming very close, very quickly,” she says.

 

Pincher Creek Curling Club – – Pincher Creek Trade Show

 

Sean Oliver, head coach of the bantam Mustangs, is also happy with this relatively inexperienced club.

“What’s nice to see as a coach is that they are playing to win every play. They may not have the experience, but they compete hard and aren’t afraid to go up against anybody,” he says.

“There’s a really good trajectory with these kids, and I’ve been really impressed with how well the boys have worked and how they’ve soaked up everything that I can teach them as a coach.”

Despite being unable to recruit a sufficient number of athletes for the peewee and senior clubs this year, both teams will be competing in exhibition games organized by the Mustangs throughout the fall.

Confirmed dates are posted to the Mustangs group page on Facebook, with more to be added later. 

The hope is that this time next year, the Mustangs will have a sufficient number of registered athletes for all three teams to compete in league play.

Based on the current makeup of the senior team, Faith believes the Mustangs should have enough bantam athletes moving up to the senior level to qualify for regular season play next year.

The same applies to peewee players moving up to the bantam level to meet roster needs, so the recruitment focus moving forward will be primarily on peewee athletes.

Two football players, white jersey carrying the ball

Football Canada’s new roster rules shroud Mustangs in uncertainty

For three decades, Mustangs football has been a staple of support for the development of children in Pincher Creek. However, new roster rules are jeopardizing the program’s operations.

In January, the Mustangs received an email from Football Alberta stating that Football Canada had made changes to its roster rules that took effect Jan. 1.

In accordance with the new roster rules, teams looking to play nine-a-side football, with less than 17 registered players before the season starts, will be ineligible for league play in the 2023-24 season. 

Football Canada has informed provincial football associations of the changes and these associations will enforce the new rules accordingly.

“I’m just so worried that we’re going to lose football,” says Faith Zachar, president of the Pincher Creek and District Mustangs Football Society.

“For 29 years, we’ve had a lot of children go through the program and we have seen them grow and support each other, while learning the game.”

“We have second-generation players now,” she says. “Their fathers played way back when we first started, and now their children are playing, so I think that shows that it’s been a real benefit to the town.” 

The program has struggled to recruit local youths to register for football since the Covid-19 pandemic, but has managed to get by. Now, without community involvement, Mustangs operations will be heavily impeded.

 

Grassroots Realty Ad – – Pincher Creek Trade Show

 

Currently, the Mustangs boast senior, bantam and peewee football teams. However, none of them have enough registered players to be eligible for league play. Five seniors, nine bantams and five peewees are currently registered.

If the Mustangs fail to register enough players for at least one of the teams by Aug. 26, it will be the first time in the program’s history it has failed to field a team, with the exception of the pandemic period.

“We’ve had a few years where maybe we lost one of the teams because we didn’t have enough players, but we always had at least two teams in the league that we’re in, and I’d hate to see it all go down,” Faith says. 

What the suspension of play could mean for the Mustangs remains unclear, but failing to have a team play in the regular season would do the program and its athletes no favours.

Cord Delinte, a Mustangs alumnus, can certainly speak to the positive impact the Mustangs can have on a youth’s upbringing. 

Having played a successful five-year football career at the University of Regina, the skills and lessons Cord picked up with the Mustangs took him all the way to the 2019 CFL Western Regional combine.

“The Mustangs had a huge impact on me growing up,” he says. “It kept me out of a ton of trouble, and obviously brought me to a much higher level of football, and I owe all that to the Mustangs.”

He emphasizes that community involvement and support are necessary for the Mustangs to thrive, and that in return, the program can help support local youths in ways that go beyond football.

 

 

“I found that when I played, there were so many kids that were kind of oddballs or didn’t fit in or had trouble socially, and then they found this outlet where everybody came together as a team,” he says.

“The beautiful thing about football is there’s a spot for every kid, every body type has a position in football, and I think it’s beautiful when you can actually get all these different kids together.”

For parents with concerns about safety, Faith offers assurance that the program takes the safety of its athletes very seriously.  She notes that coaches are trained in safe contact and proper tackling techniques, and that the program’s history of player injuries is sparse. 

“We do everything we can to keep everybody safe,” she says.   

The Mustangs hold practices every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m., for all three teams, at Matthew Halton Field. Those interested in registering to join the Mustangs can do so at their next practice on Aug. 26. 

It costs $275 to register your child for the season and KidSport support is available for those that are eligible for financial assistance. Kidsport Pincher Creek can be reached at 403-627-4322.

If you’re interested in registering your child for the Mustangs but can’t make it to practice this week, you can contact Faith Zachar at 403-627-7751 or faithzachar@hotmail.com, or Shannon Schoening at 403-795-5710 or uc6ranch@gmail.com.