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Alas, varsity soccer won't go indoors

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Stop the presses, stop the presses, major soccer breaking news here.

At least it’s breaking for me, since I  finally got around to asking U of W for an update about its new athletic complex scheduled to open in the fall of 2014, including three indoor soccer fields opening up into one full field, indoors.

I couldn’t reach my usually reliable source at Canadian Interuniversity Sports, who was on vacation, but the ubiquitous senior aide to UW prez Lloyd Axworthy responded immediately, and told me that, alas, UW will not be able to play varsity soccer matches indoors.

Said senior aide by email: "We will meet minimum FIFA standards for a full soccer field. We have increased the length to 90 metres, the FIFA minimum. We already exceed the FIFA minimum width. (The FIFA requirement is 45 metres. Our field is 50.5 metres) The field turf will also meet FIFA 1 star quality standards. While the field is large enough for FIFA certification, which we will obtain, it is not large enough for International competitions which generally require field dimension of 100 metres by 64 metres.  

"At the moment, Canada West and the CIS have deemed that the sport of men’s and women’s soccer is not an indoor sport. We can and will host various exhibition matches but our league games will continue to be at an outdoor facility."

So there you have it.

Meanwhile, I’m bugging everyone remotely likely to have a half-decent clue, about the supposedly-imminent announcement of the city’s third indoor soccer complex. This is the one that Premier Greg Selinger promised during the last election, along with four more pairs of lighted, artificial fields.

The province has said that the third indoor complex, which would also get one of those pairs of outdoor fields with lights and turf, will be in the city’s north end — note, north end, not North End — and the top contender is considered to be Red River College’s Notre Dame campus, which already has two nifty outdoor fields, and whose being awarded the complex would give symmetry and eliminate any possible postsecondary whining — since UM and UW already have theirs.

The Seven Oaks complex on Kingsbury and the Gateway complex would also have to be on a list of contenders.

RRC is the only one willing to tell me anything, and the college says it hasn’t heard anything yet.

Wasn’t that informative? That’s why it’s in a blog and not in the dead trees edition. But hey, what are the chances you’d have read anything about either topic in www.soccernet.com, eh?

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About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

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