The Senior Boys Soccer Team at Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton wants to help the students of Attawapiskat. The recent unfortunate events there sparked a desire in these young student-athletes to reach out to their counterparts at Vezina Secondary School. They visited Attawapiskat June 18th to 24th to implement a soccer camp at the school with the local Recreation Coordinator.
They ran 3 sessions per day with over 50 youth per session. The Attawapiskat teachers reported to the Marrocco staff, “that is all the kids talk about and can’t wait for their session to run!”
It was an overwhelming experience for the team and staff. One player, when faced with the conditions in Attawapiskat, wanted to go home the first day he arrived but, on the last day, declared he wanted to return next year!
Highlights of the trip included celebrating National Aboriginal Day and eating traditional food such as beaver and rabbit. Seeing the Northern Lights was another unforgettable experience!
They hope to form a long-lasting relationship by coaching staff and students in soccer skills, implementing a soccer house league and offering the Attawapiskat youth the opportunity to visit them in Toronto once a year.
The group started a “Go Fund Me” page to appeal for financial assistance to assist with transportation costs and purchasing soccer equipment. They brought soccer uniforms, shoes, nets, balls, pumps, whistles, bibs, and other equipment that they were able to gather from parents and friends. The Toronto FC donated brand new equipment as did a local organization Sporting FC Cares. Canadian Tire donated sleeping bags for the team to use while in Attawapiskat.
The soccer team received the final funds they needed to make their trip to Attawapiskat when the school received $9,700, through ParticipACTION Teen Challenge, which is sponsored by Coca Cola. The official announcement was made June 20th in a news release issued by ParticipACTION. This was great news for the team that had already successfully raised almost $15,000 towards their trip to bring soccer to this Northern community.
The Senior Boys Soccer Team at Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton CSS (BMTM Royals), is the TDCAA indoor Soccer Champ, TDCAA Outdoor Soccer Champ and Bronze Medalist at OFSAA in June, 2016.