As the saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child.”
It aptly describes what the Shady Rest Eagles, a local men’s senior soccer club, is doing to help a 17-year-old Parksville soccer player, Wylee Franks, realize an opportunity to attend an elite soccer academy with Marbella United FC in Lisbon, Portugal this coming school year.
The Eagles handed a cheque for $750 to Franks, who was scouted by Marbella and is the only Canadian selected for this opportunity. Many players from the academy have graduated to higher levels of professional soccer in Europe, which Franks is hoping to achieve.
Wylee, who formerly played for the Nanaimo Storm in the Upper Island Soccer Association, currently trains every Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the men’s drop in soccer practices at the Qualicum Beach Recreation Fields.
The practice on Tuesday, Aug. 12, was briefly halted when Jim Cameron, president of the Shady Rest Eagles club, handed the cheque to Franks.
“We all can see the drive and determination that is evident in Wylee’s play against players at the practices who are much older than he is,” said Cameron. “It would be wonderful for Wylee, and the [Parksville Qualicum Beach] area, if Wylee succeeds in achieving his dream of becoming a professional soccer player.”
The Eagles have also set up a drop-box for contributions by players at the regular Tuesday and Thursday evening practices.
Wylee’s family also has a GoFundMe page for contributions from others in the community. If you wish to donate, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/Gofundme-Wylee-Franks-Marbella-Fc