Olympians kick it at Sparwood soccer clinic

Elk Vally children practiced soccer skills with Canadian women's soccer team head coach John Herdman and goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc.

Sparwood athlete Morgan McDonald (centre) practiced her soccer skills at a clinic this morning taught by John Herdman (left)

Excitement kept kids warm this morning at the Sparwood recreation soccer field until the fun began at a soccer clinic led by John Herdman, head coach of Canada’s women’s national soccer team and London 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Karina LeBlanc, goalkeeper for the Canadian women’s soccer team.

Sixty-four children attended the free skills clinic along with local volunteer soccer coaches. LeBlanc is an ambassador for Teck and was happy to have an opportunity to share her skills with kids in a small community.

“The biggest thing is to try,” said LeBlanc. “With lots of practice, they can accomplish anything.”

Morgan McDonald is an 11 year old from Sparwood who took part in the soccer clinic.

“They taught us how to control the ball while dribbling the ball and going around the defender,” said McDonald. “We also threw the ball in the air with our hands and practiced catching it with the back of our neck.”

“The clinic was fun based as there is a big range in skills,” said Herdman. “We worked on tricks and skills to get them out passing and moving. We practiced more creative attacking moves. We just had fun really.”

The kids all got a chance to kick the ball at the net while LeBlanc played goalkeeper and some goals were scored.

Looking back at the women’s team bronze medal performance at the 2012 Olympics Herdman commented.

“The team came together culturally. They were the most connected team. There was a team spirit that no matter what tribulations were thrown at them, they were able to rise above. They were great Canadians no matter what was thrown at them. They had a vision that was greater than themselves. When a group has a collective vision, nothing can stop them.”

The soccer clinic, sponsored by Teck, is aimed to encourage active living, skill development and teamwork.

 

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