Youth soccer association steps up for local kids


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At least 36 kids from low-income families are playing in the Charleswood Youth Soccer Association’s mini-soccer program free of charge this spring, thanks to a $500 donation from the Headingley Firefighters Run for Wishes, which was matched by CYSA.

Erin Beyko, CYSA president, said the association has wanted to do something like this for years and intends to continue what it now calls the CYSA Kickoff program.

“This is the first year we’ve been able to do this,” she said. “There’s a public housing complex near our Westgrove School mini-soccer site. We’d always see the kids watching the games and we’ve always wanted to find a way to get those kids on the field.”

Photo by John Kendle

Kory Stagg (left) and Erin Beyko, house-league convenor and president, respectively, of the Charleswood Youth Soccer Association, are pleased with the association’s new CYSA Kickoff program and intend to continue it in seasons to come.

Josh Mulvenna, a Winnipeg firefighter and Headingley volunteer firefighter, is race director of the Headingley Firefighters Run for Wishes. The Westgrove Family Resource Centre, located in the Westgrove Housing complex in Charleswood, is one of the title causes of this year’s Run for Wishes, so Mulvenna asked the CYSA if it would match a donation from Run for Wishes to help pay for Westgrove kids to play mini-soccer.

When the association agreed, Mulvenna co-ordinated registration of the young soccer players with the help of Shannon Shields, principal of Westgrove School.

“For many reasons, a lot of kids and families there don’t have a lot of opportunities. This was a way to get them playing soccer. When I asked the youth soccer association if they would double the donation, they said they would,” Mulvenna said.

Beyko, in her fifth year as CYSA president, said the association hopes to be able to continue the program in years to come.

“Since we started, all the kids have been in attendance every night, and the families are happy for the kids to get the opportunity to play,” Beyko said.

Kory Stagg, CYSA house-league convenor, said 604 players registered for mini-soccer this spring.

“Out of all the kids who registered (through CYSA Kickoff), only one had played with us before, so that’s now 35 new players for the program, which is just great to see,” he said.

This year’s Headingley Firefighters Run for Wishes is set for May 27. Visit for more details, registration info or to donate.

For more information on the Charleswood Youth Soccer Association, visit

John Kendle

John Kendle
Managing editor, Canstar Community News

John Kendle is managing editor of Canstar Community News, which publishes the Free Press Community Review. Email him at:

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