When Kelila Peel walked into her house last week she wore her bronze medal around her neck and her mom described her as a whole new person.
Most people were not surprised when told that Kelila had qualified and was off to the North American Indigenous Aboriginal Games (NAIG) in Regina, Sask. to play soccer. Kelila has game, and if truth be told, there is a communal pride — shíshálh pride, in fact. It’s not like many in the community aided and assisted Kelila in her many years of intense soccer training and on-going fundraising — for the most part, her love for the game has been the effort of Kelila and her parents.
The Peels are a hard-working, highly-driven, sports-focused family. Both parents, Steven and Miranda, play almost every sport that the Coast offers, but the family’s first love is soccer.
On her way to winning a medal in Regina, Kelila first travelled to Seabird where she played with Fraser Valley in an effort to qualify for the NAIG.
In their first match against the Vancouver Island region, Kelila scored, but the team lost in a close battle. Vancouver Island would go on to win the qualifier, but luck was on Kelila’s side as she was asked to join the team.
Kelila accepted and would travel to Regina — for the first time on her own — and the first time on an airplane to boot. Kelila played centre and left defence for Team B.C. at the NAIG.
In the first match, Team BC beat Manitoba 8-1.
Up next was Wisconsin, which ended in a 4-1 win.
Team B.C. would move into the semifinals, and many of us were following Kelila and her team’s progress via social media. The match against Saskatchewan was a nail-
biter as it went into overtime, with an even score of 1-1. Kelila would score to make it 2-1, but Saskatchewan came back for the 3-2 win. That dropped Team B.C. into the bronze medal match against Wisconsin, which they won 3-0.
As an added bonus, just before she left, Kelila was approached by the coach of the University of Saskatchewan’s women’s varsity soccer team, who shared that he was impressed with her game and would like to discuss the future.
So it appears that there is more in store for this dedicated and talented athlete. Stay tuned!
© Coast Reporter