KSS Soccer Academy booming

Students at the KSS Soccer Academy listening to instructions from directors Shel Brodsgaard and Butch Gayton  - TYSON TAYLOR PHOTO
Students at the KSS Soccer Academy listening to instructions from directors Shel Brodsgaard and Butch Gayton
— image credit: TYSON TAYLOR PHOTO

The Kwalikum Secondary Soccer Academy is in its first year and things have been going better than expected, according to KSS athletic director Butch Gayton.

The program, which started in September, runs through the entire school year and gives students a chance to have it as a class during that time. The curriculum revolves around the beautiful game and covers everything from passing and possession of the ball to learning the basic ins and outs of being a coach themselves one day.

The academy came into play with hopes of having at least 20 kids enrolled for the start of the year, but that number ended up being over 30. It’s been a pleasant surprise for Gayton as the numbers were larger to begin with and look to be getting bigger for next year.

“We were shooting for around 25 kids but ended up with 36, which was a nice surprise. The kids have been the real story behind all of this though. Their enthusiasm and drive to get out there on the pitch when we do has been really admirable,” Gayton had to say about the academy.

One of the focal points has been the on-field direction which is being led by former Toronto FC sports performance analyst and Canadian women’s national team goal-tending coach Shel Brodsgaard.

Brodsgaard has been leading the on-field activities and incorporating his knowledge into the planning and layout of drills over the weeks during the course. Recently, the Vancouver Whitecaps sent Kevin Lindo, from their junior program, to lend his skills and teach the kids a thing or two to help improve their game.

With the focus being on the field improvements for the students, there is also a wide variety of things that have been put in place to go along with the on field skills and drills.

Students will be given the chance to learn CPR, take part in yoga classes, a grassroots coaching program that will give them their level 1 coaching certificate and they can learn how to referee a soccer game and obtain their officiating license as well.

“It’s been good to be able to just play soccer every day. Not a lot of people get that chance to play every day and it’s been helping a lot with the skills part of things,” Grade 10 student Josh Jai said.

“The coaches that are here have helped big time for all of us and it’s pretty cool to have guys who’ve been to the higher levels being here to help us out.”

It’s been an early success for the academy and Gayton is looking forward to having it continue for years to come.

The weather has been helping out with the class in terms of the students being able to be outside longer than originally forecast. Each Monday, Thursday and Friday the kids are outside and then Tuesdays and Wednesdays they are inside working on the finer things to do with the game.

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