Snaw-Naw-As will be one of six First Nations receiving mini soccer pitches after the launch of a new initiative in British Columbia.
According to a press release, Scotiabank Fútbol Club, which launched last month in B.C., has partnered with the Indigenous-led organization Hope and Health to provide $450,000 in funding over the next three years. Money will go toward numerous initiatives including six mini soccer pitches to First Nations communities in the province, including Snaw-Naw-As.
The mini soccer fields will offer “much-needed infrastructure and accelerate the development of quality programming and opportunities – benefiting over 1,000 Indigenous children and youth annually,” the press release said, with Scotiabank supporting the construction by the end of 2024.
Other nations receiving pitches are Penelakut Tribe and Stz’uminus Nation, with more to be announced, the press release said.
“We’ve experienced incredible results and proof of concept with the first mini-pitch installation for Penelakut Tribe,” said Bill Yoachim, Hope and Health co-founder, in the press release. “We are very excited to bring these innovative, high-quality and inspiring play environments to additional communities with the outstanding partners involved who are so deeply committed to reconcili-action through sport.”
Stephanie Labbé, Olympic gold medal winning women’s soccer goalie, was on hand at the program kickoff event last month in Burnaby and said more soccer opportunities will benefit children.
“Soccer is an incredible sport and is growing at a rapid pace across the country,” Labbé said in the release. “I am happy to see that Scotiabank is getting involved in making soccer more accessible for more kids and communities in B.C.”
Hope and Health indicated in a release last year that Snuneymuxw First Nation would also be receiving one of the mini pitches.