Kathy Judson rarely lives anywhere long without playing in, or starting up, a soccer league.
While in Windsor, England and France, the fitness trainer and holistic nutritionist found a way to hit the field with likeminded women.
Now Judson is helping start leagues for women and kids in Dysart et al.
When she moved to the Highlands with her family, she was disappointed with the limited options for her or her daughters to play near their home in Highlands East. The Haliburton Soccer Club shut down in 2020.
“It’s the missing puzzle piece in the town of Haliburton. Every great town needs a youth soccer league and I’m excited to help create that opportunity for my kids,” she said.
Judson is the driving force behind Haliburton Grassroots Athletics, a new association running two soccer leagues in 2022.
The kids’ league will start at age four up to age 12 and play Thursday nights at 6 p.m. from June 30 to Sept. 1 with no long weekend play.
She’s also hoping to start a women’s league for those 18 and older.
In her experience, co-ed leagues result in fewer playing opportunities for women as games become dominated by men.
“This opens an opportunity for women of all levels to get out on the field and even learn the sport.”
Judson guesses the league will grow over time but she hopes to field at least two teams this year. “It becomes about a female community at a certain point.
It becomes a safe space for women to come together and sweat,” she said. “But it takes time to build that.”
Judson said “women’s sports, in general, are not getting the attention they deserve and need more funding. It helps [remind women that] ‘yeah I might not be a professional soccer player but I love to play. Why not play again?’”
The women’s league will run June 26 to Sept. 18 with no long weekend play, starting at 5 p.m.
Game locations are yet to be announced. Dysart et al will handle registration and supply equipment, but Judson said the leagues are in need of volunteer coaches and referees.
Registration for both leagues is $100.
For more information or to register, visit dysartetal.ca.
To volunteer contact Judson at Kathy@sweat-bank.com