When Nikheel Premsagar couldn’t find a summer soccer league that suited his needs, he and his friend Shitangshu Roy decided to create their own.
The university students were looking for a cheap league where less competition and smaller games were the end goal. Premsagar said costs for other leagues regularly run from $100 per player and close to $1,000 per team. The aim for their volunteer-run league is a cost of $20 to $30 per player and $200 to $300 per team.
“Shitangshu and I played through school, but once we came into our university years we found it was very difficult to find a league we could play in that was non-competitive and inexpensive,” Premsagar explained.
“We found plenty of leagues to play in that were above our skill level, which is not competitive by any means. We were going to find friends and try to play every Sunday, but decided to try and expand and include anyone who wanted to come out.”
The pair put the call out online, hoping for 20 like-minded people to respond. It didn’t take long for that number to climb to almost 50.
“We’ve been so encouraged by the response from people all over HRM. Bedford, Clayton Park, Halifax, everywhere,” Premsagar said.
Recreation services staff in HRM have lent a hand, providing a field and potential time for the league to hold games. The St. Francis/Inglis Street field near Gorsebrook Junior High in Halifax is the venue, with a tentative time of Saturdays from 4 to 6 pm.
The field doesn’t hold any tournaments, so the league should have minimal to no interruptions.
Many respondents have already enthusiastically committed to volunteer and help them build the league. Volunteers with medical, legal, promotional and field-booking experience are among those encouraged to become involved.
“We’ve made so many friends from playing soccer over the summer, so the work we put in doesn’t feel like work. It’s rewarding,” Premsagar said.
“We want to make this not something Shitangshu and I are controlling, but something run around the volunteers. Even the name of the league (SPORTS FOR PLAYERS BY PLAYERS) will most likely change depending on the wishes of members.”
Premsagar believes the league’s inclusiveness is part of what makes it so appealing. Although open to all genders, skill levels and ages, Premsagar expects the majority of players will be people who’ve graduated from high school up to about age 30.
“There really aren’t many opportunities for those not playing competitively to enjoy in that age range,” he said.
Instead of a typical 90-minute soccer game broken up into two-45 minute halves, the league will offer two-30 minute halves. The field will also be broken up into three horizontal sections of play (sideline to sideline) rather than one full field to allow for three simultaneous games.
“We’ve done this socially and it seems to work,” Premsagar said. “Enthusiasm is really building and I would really like to see this become an annual thing. We are looking at creating something that is long standing.”
Play is expected to start May 26. If plans don’t work out, interested players will be informed by April 27.
To learn more, contact Premsagar or Roy at firstname.lastname@example.org.