FORT ST. JOHN, B.C – A new addition to the Fort St. John Soccer Club is ready for use, but not just for soccer.

The Fort St. John Curling Club, located right next door, experienced financial hardship in recent years. To keep the club running, they leased half of the curling facility to construct a new futsal pitch.

The flooring is multipurpose plastic, compatible with all floor sports like badminton, volleyball, and floor hockey.

The closure of school gymnasiums has left leagues scrambling for facility rentals.

According to Fort St. John Soccer Club President Darren Snider, the new futsal pitch is a perfect alternative to school gyms.

“Volleyball is going to be starting in there, badminton teams have come and talked to me. If any other kids clubs are looking for a place to play, we have the facility available for rent.”

Despite provincial health regulations banning games, youth sports leagues are allowed to hold practices.

Players must keep a distance of three metres from each other, spectators are not permitted, and athletes must leave the facility immediately following practices.

Registration at the Fort St. John Soccer Club has seen a significant drop this year. Snider says the restrictions on games play a role in registration.

“Our numbers are down from about 350-400 to about 150, so quite substantially down this year for indoor.”

As for the task of keeping a group of kids three metres apart and following guidelines, Snider says some age groups get it faster than others.

“When dealing with 10 and 11-year-olds they’ll go for a water break. Well, try and keep them apart from each other. You try your best to keep them separated and remind them. Spread out their water bottles, do what you can.”

The new futsal pitch is the product of a $20,000 BC Winter Games Legacy grant.