The head of the Nelson Soccer Association is leaving on a high note.
Chuck Bennett announced Monday he was stepping down as chair of Nelson’s largest sports organization. Bennett has served on the board for 14 years, was previously chair from 2008 to 2015 and returned to the role in 2017.
“It’s been awesome. Fantastic, amazing. To see what we were before and to see where we are today. We are the only accredited district in the Interior, probably in the country,” he said.
“We’ve got rep teams that go to provincials. … Our kids go there with the expectation they are going to compete and win. Maybe not the gold medal, but they are going to go there with every one of our teams. Ten years ago, we’d be happy to get a team in a medal game.”
Bennett leaves NSA with steady registration numbers and good financial health.
Financial statements made public at Monday’s annual general meeting show NSA had an excess of revenue over expenditures of $76,909 for the year ending Dec. 31, 2018.
The association also paid off a five-year, $350,000 loan from the City of Nelson for the indoor soccer facility on Cedar Street. NSA and the city have since begun a profit sharing arrangement for the facility that includes the association paying $3,000 per month in rent.
The paid off loan means Nelson Soccer can now focus on its need for a new field, which is needed to host provincial tournaments and extend the outdoor season.
Bennett had previously said he hoped construction on a turf field would have begun this year, but now the organization is also considering options for a grass pitch.
“One more is what we need, and then we can really be aggressive with getting some tournaments,” he said.
The meeting also included:
• Updated registration numbers, which showed 254 players in this year’s rep program, 812 in the outdoor house program, 302 players in the outdoor adult leagues and 712 players in last season’s indoor leagues. Nelson Soccer also had 123 volunteer coaches and 62 registered referees.
• A presentation from Callum Cutler, who took part in the Generation Adidas International program in the summer that included training at the Real Madrid Foundation in Madrid.
• Eric Galbraith was awarded the Walter Dehnel Memorial Award for Volunteerism.
• The Terry Walgren Tournament, which was moved from September to the first weekend of May earlier this year to avoid wildfire smoke, raised over $5,000 for the rep program.
• Five new directors were elected to the board, which has not yet decided on a replacement for Bennett.
Chuck Bennett was previously publisher of the Nelson Star.