(May 19, 2018) The Alberta Soccer District Outreach Program has long been known to go to the furthest corners of the province to bring the grassroots game to all Albertans and over the first weekend of May, that journey went to the furthest corner yet, High Level, Alberta. Approached by the Dene Tha’ (DTFN) Recreation and Cultural Society with the help of Ever Active to support an organized soccer program for the First Nation Communities in the area, John Clubb, Alberta Soccer’s Manager of Grassroots Development, drove over 1,000 km to help develop coaches to deliver the program.

Carlito Somera, the Executive Director for the DTFN Recreation and Cultural Society is responsible for the program and with the support of Jumpstart and Ever Active, he was able to put his vision of educating and training more coaches in the community to implement a soccer program for youth into action. “Living in both Aboriginal and multi-cultural communities, I see that there are events in the sports world which our DTFN children and youth are not taking part in. There are children playing soccer but our DTFN children have no access with funding, structured programs and quality coaches,” said Somera. That’s where John Clubb was brought into the conversation. Clubb, who has been traveling the province to deliver parent, player and coach clinics to help everyone enjoy the game and keep them playing the game longer was thrilled at the idea of providing a coaching clinic for the DTFN communities.

“It was a long drive but we’ve been waiting for the opportunity to help engage Indigenous populations in the game. It’s an important step in bringing the game to some of our more isolated communities. We’d like to develop more opportunities like this,” said Clubb. For those that have worked with Clubb, they understand the passion and enthusiasm he brings to the field with coaches, parents and kids alike. “It took some time to break the ice with some of the coaches but once we got into it, I started to see them cracking smiles. I’m looking forward to getting back there in the future to help the program continue to bloom.”

Clubb delivered a one day NCCP FUNdamentals Coaching Course for eight young adult coaches with the hopes that those coaches will transfer what they’ve learned into soccer programming for DTFN children and youth. “We just addressed our first challenge: lack of quality community coaches. Now we need the commitment from the coaches to implement what they’ve learned. We just saw shy youth transformed into leaders and they gained the knowledge, skills and confidence to continue coaching,” said Somera.

As the Dene Tha’ Recreation and Cultural Society looks to continue the soccer program, they will need to continue to address the challenges of transportation, funding, accessing equipment and keeping the coaches and players engaged. Alberta Soccer will continue its efforts to help sustain the program moving forward so that everyone in the province can participate in the beautiful game.

For more information on the District Outreach Program and/or to have our Grassroots Team visit your community, please click here