Area playing fields will be reverberating with the sounds of activity this Saturday as over 400 eager, young players take to their respective pitches for the start of the 2014 Merritt Youth Soccer Association season.

“We’re at 421 [registrations] and counting,” said MYSA secretary Kerri Cooke. “It’s going to be another great year.”

Games on Saturday will once again take place at both Diamond Vale and Nicola Canford (formerly CMS) schools and run from 8:30 a.m. through until 2 p.m.

“The only thing that we had to change was to add a Thursday night game because of one less team in the Grade 6 and 7 age group,” said Youth Soccer Association president Gary Dixon. “Otherwise, all the schedules are the same.”

“We have all our coaches in place, and many of the teams practised this week in preparation for their first games on Saturday,” added Dixon.

The MYSA program has seen steady growth of the years. In addition to ever-increasing numbers registering for the annual spring league, indoor sessions were held this winter at Collettville School on Monday nights under the direction of the Soccer Quest Academy. A couple of travelling teams are also in the works.

“We definitely have a U11 boys team that will be going to the Slurpee Cup in Kamloops and playing some exhibition games against Penticton,” said Dixon. “There are still hopes for a U11 girls travelling team.”

Sponsorships have been another growth area for the MYSA, as it now has all of its six age-groups affiliated with area businesses and organizations.

“We can’t thank enough the likes of Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire, Alpha Design, Murray GM, Home Hardware, Black’s Pharmacy, A&W, Boston Pizza, Doctors Eyecare and Pine Ideas for coming on board with us and supporting the kids,” said Dixon.

This year’s MYSA season runs from April 12 to June 21. There will be no games on the April 19 and May 17 long weekends.

For this year’s MYSA schedule, pick up a copy of the Merritt Herald or take a look at today’s e-edition.