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Photo by Darryl G. Smart

By Darryl G. Smart

It was a decision that Leroy Foster didn’t want to make.

On Tuesday, the beloved football coach and president of the Port Dover Steelheads announced, with a heavy heart, that the local football organization is taking the year off.

“I come to you with regrets that the Port Dover Steelheads will not be participating in fall football for the 2021 season,” Foster said. “This announcement was based on the number of players that were registered to play this game. If we want to play this game safely, we must have numbers. It’s not fair to the kids that come to practice every day that play both ways to put their health and safety at risk.”

In June, the Steelheads circulated a survey, asking for parent’s input on the next steps as the province was heading towards opening sports up. On August 7, they passed out registration information on their Facebook page.

Despite a decent response on Facebook, Foster had to deliver the difficult new Tuesday.

“We’re going to take this year to redefine our organization, and try to come back bigger and better,” Foster said. “We’re going to recruit, we’re going to market, we’re going to fund raise. All these things are going to have to happen to come back to the football field.”

He said they will also be looking for coaches and sponsors. 

“Please don’t take this as we’re tapping out,” Foster said. “For the players that go to other organizations, please consider coming back when we return to the field. 

I know I’m going to miss everyone. I’m going to miss Tuesdays and Thursdays. But I’m really going to miss Saturdays. I’m going to miss all of that. Those are the days that we got to watch your sons and daughters grow. The Port Dover Steelheads is all about development. It’s all about hard work and integrity. And that’s what this message is all about.”

Foster said if parents need help or guidance finding a place for their kids to play this fall, his door is always open.

“Please don’t give up on us because we won’t give up on you,” Foster said. “We love you all and we will miss you all. The Port Dover Steelheads are family.”