Huge numbers for PAYSA summer season

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald A race for the ball takes place during a Prince Albert Youth Soccer Association U17 girls’ league game at Prime Ministers’ Park Thursday night.

The busiest place in Prince Albert during weeknights might be the soccer pitches.

With the outdoor season in full swing across the city, the Prince Albert Youth Soccer Association has become not just the biggest soccer organization in the province but the biggest sport organization as a whole with over 1,300 kids participating in their many leagues.

“There are more than 100 teams involved in our various house leagues and our 13 competitive Celtic teams,” technical director Dragan Ivkovic said. “The biggest challenge for us is to organize all of that and finding the right balance between the house league level and the Celtic teams.

“It’s almost a 20 percent increase compared to last year. Our leagues are all growing at the same rate no matter the age group, so that’s exciting to see.”

While the house league teams take over the fields during the week, the Celtic programs will get a chance to play at home this weekend in a Premier Soccer League event.

“It’s the highest level in the province and it’s a great chance for everyone to see the talent that we have,” Ivkovic said.

The U13 girls will play against the Aurora Rangers of Saskatoon at 12:45 p.m. Saturday and Eastside Barca of Saskatoon at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, with both games being held at Carlton Park.

The U15 boys will go up against Hollandia United of Saskatoon on Saturday and Lakewood Deportivo of Saskatoon on Sunday, with both games taking place at 1 p.m. at the Prime Ministers’ Park West field.