Celtics kickoff soccer season after long hiatus

The Prince Albert Celtics soccer club played in their first tournament in nearly two years, with three teams winning gold medals. –Submitted photo/Dragan Ivkovic

For the first time in 21 months, the Prince Albert Celtics soccer teams competed in their first tournament over the weekend. The Prince Albert Youth Soccer Association (PAYSA) was well represented at the Regina FC Cup Soccer Tournament, with nine teams from ages 9-17 playing in both boys and girls action.

Technical director Dragan Ivkovic was thrilled to see the teams hit the pitch after COVID-19 stopped play.

“I am more than pleased,” Ivkovic said. “It shows that we are on the right track.”

Teams from Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba were in attendance for the tournament. Although it may seem like setting up a tournament with more than one province involved may be tricky with COVID-19 regulations, Ivkovic said the process was easier than most people might think.

“The process wasn’t too complicated,” he said. “In the Saskatchewan Soccer Association, all the kids must be vaccinated, and that’s it. There’s no more requests than that.”

The Celtics’ U17 boys, U15 boys, and U13 girls all brought home gold medals over the weekend, and Ivkovic said all the teams exceeded his expectations.

Overall during weekend play, PAYSA teams finished with a combined 25 wins, 4 ties, and just 5 defeats.

“They did much better than we expected,” he said. “I didn’t expect us to have these good of results last weekend at the beginning. I hope they continue to play this way. However in the coming tournaments it will be more and more challenging.“

On Friday, PAYSA will be hosting the U of S Huskies soccer teams. After that, there will be a presentation of the soccer program. The first game starts at 4:30 with the presentation to follow shortly after.

“I want to give a big thanks to the parents and soccer community,” Ivkovic added. “They’ve been so patient and so supportive in these difficult times without any soccer games or tournaments.”