Soccer season at risk in Merritt this year due to lack of coaches and referees.

As the soccer season is set to begin on April 8, the Merritt Youth Soccer Association (MYSA) is seeking volunteers to coach and referee.

“We’re a nonprofit volunteer based youth association so we’re only as strong as our volunteer base,” said U11 Division Director Paul Sutton. “And the sad fact of that is if we don’t have volunteers, it puts the league or at least the teams or divisions at threat of not playing.”

The MYSA needs approximately 20 more coaches spread across U5, U7, U9, U11, and U13 Divisions.

“Two coaches per team would roughly be the minimum,” said Sutton. “It gives the team and the coaches flexibility for us to have a day off here and there or if they’ve got a commitment doing something else, ideally you’d have a minimum of two but it can be three or four coaches.”

MYSA is looking for community members who are good communicators, teambuilders, and passionate in sports, community building and supporting the development of children. A criminal background check will be mandatory.

Despite a shortage of volunteer coaches and referees, Sutton believes the association will get where it needs to.

“I’m of the belief that when people really need to rally around the community, we will get there,” said Sutton.

For those that are interested in volunteering, the MYSA will be hosting an information session on Thursday, April 4 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Merritt Secondary School library. “I was a new coach last year myself,” said Sutton. “I went to that and I got a lot out of it.”