While the sporting community had all eyes on Nanaimo last week during the B.C. Summer Games, it’s what’s happening in Regina, Saskatchewan right afterwards that has three area soccer players raring for action.
Tyler Matalone from Prince Rupert and Damon Fladmark and Jakob Harris from Haida Gwaii have all made the British Columbian under-16 (Matalone) and under-18 (Fladmark, Harris) soccer squads, headed by coach Toni Muldoe and other bench bosses for the 2014 North American Indigenous Games taking place from July 20-27.
“I think we have a pretty good chance of winning,” said Muldoe last week.
“Our teams have been training hard.”
An estimated 4,500 athletes from across Canada and the United States will knock on Regina’s doors in the forms of provincial and state teams.
Both squads have been competing against local men’s teams in Hazelton to prepare for the games, with Fladmark and Harris staying in the area to practice.
“[Fladmark] is one of our main goal-scorers on the under-18 team. He’s also very fast and Jake is a defender and he’s very solid on the back line too,” said Muldoe.
Matalone, whose Skeena Taxi squad won the 2014 under-19 Prince Rupert Youth Soccer Association (PRYSA) title, is most at home at the forward slot.
“Tyler is fast. He’s got [good] ball control and he’s also a team player,” said Muldoe.
“Because of his speed, he’s usually up front.”
These are the first North American Indigenous Games since 2011 when the games were held on a smaller scale in Milwaukee, Wisconsin due to a lack of financial backers. Team BC’s logo was created by artist Jamin Zuroski from the Namgis First Nation.
“The soaring raven represents the strength and determination of the Team BC athletes, coaches and all nations within British Columbia,” Zuroski said of his design in an official release.
“The sun provides connection to our ancestors and is the basis of all light and nourishment on this earth.”