Soccer players heading to Europe for competition

Two young shíshálh Nation soccer players will be gearing up for competition in Europe this August and a fundraising event at the Nation’s longhouse has been organized to help raise money for the athletes.

“For our youth to travel to Europe, that’s a huge endeavour and it’s very special. We’ve had only a very few people that have travelled overseas and the growth potential and learning experience for our community members and our youth is really huge,” said Candace Campo, who is organizing and participating in the fundraiser.

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Evelyn Paul and Callie Baptise, both 11 years old, will be playing for the Native International Football Association (NIFA) and they are expected to compete in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Austria.

The pair have played for Sunshine Coast and Vancouver rep teams, as well as in Indigenous soccer tournaments throughout the Lower Mainland, which Campo described as a summer tradition for many shíshálh Nation families.

“This has existed for many, many decades, where relationships have grown and we keep our connection to our neighbouring tribes through the sports circuit,” she said.

Shíshálh Nation has a reputation as a successful soccer community, according to Campo. “We’ve frequently represented British Columbia in the North American Indigenous Games and have won championships over the years.”

The Nov. 9 fundraising event, billed as a “public and community cultural celebration and performance,” will feature traditional Coast Salish-shíshálh Nation drumming, singing, dancing and traditional storytelling. Campo told Coast Reporter she plans to reveal a new story at the event, about a young killer whale in the Gibsons Landing area.

“There’s a lot of gratitude and appreciation that our Coast always comes together for these good initiatives,” said Campo. “We’re just excited to share another culture event with the community. There’s usually really good turnouts and we’re looking forward to seeing everybody.”

The Sechelt Longhouse is located just off Sunshine Coast Highway at 5488 Monkey Tree Lane. Parking is free. Tickets are $30 for one adult or $50 for two, and $20 for children. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets and information can be found here: https://www.aboriginalecotours.com/tours/aboriginal-eco-tours/sunshine-coast/events/an-afternoon-at-the-longhouse-event

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