Shoal Lake Cree Nation
SHOAL LAKE CREE NATION SOCCER coaches provide instruction in Cree to their young players; everyone is bilingual. Coaches remind them of their position for the game and the purpose of that position. Four coaches, fully certified through the Soccer Association, are assisted by four other coaches-in-training; they have been working with the children's soccer league for three years. The number of soccer players has been increasing each year and it's easy to see why.
The Shoal Lake Cree Nation Soccer teams begin arriving on the various soccer fields an hour before game time. They gather for a short prayer in Cree, followed by exercises, some last minute instructions by coaches, encouragement from their Chief, and they're ready to go. There's no doubt about it, these kids are having a good time. Even warm-ups and laps bring out laughter.
This year 80 soccer players represented the Shoal Lake Cree Nation in the Summer Games in Saskatchewan. For another invitational, 67 soccer players, age 7 to 14, were bused down to Prince Albert for a Tournament. Four teams aged 10 and under and four teams aged 14 and under arrived in PA from Shoal Lake the night before the Tournament. Four teams of girls and four teams of boys, along with their chaperones and coaches, had an evening of fun after the long ride, eating out and enjoying a chance to swim in the hotel pool. Different parents chaperone the teams on each trip, so that more parents have an opportunity to share these experiences with their children.
The Shoal Lake Cree Nation Council believes that their geographic isolation makes it especially important to develop youth sport and recreation on-reserve. With the soccer league up and running, plans are to begin work on winter recreation on-reserve. The First Nations Trust takes great pleasure in knowing that Trust monies are helping to meet the recreational development objectives at the Shoal Lake Cree Nation.