Summer Soccer Gold
An amazing thing happened this summer. My daughter, age nine, had the opportunity to play free, community, non-competitive soccer in our beautiful Giovanni Caboto Park. It happened because many folks came together, with a generous amount of drive from neighbour Allan Suarez. This was a chance to create real connection and build neighbourhood friendships between children and families through sport and play.
Allan saw a need and was uniquely placed to make it happen in this season of COVID community spirit. It was with his passion for the game and the skills that he could offer coaching for kiddos from ages 4 to 14. His dedication included bringing equipment and goal posts and soccer balls and pinnies every week, and then doing it again. Allan would come out early and stay late, setting up real goal nets on the goalposts and generally pouring his heart into helping kids have fun and gain skills, both physical and social.
Also, a shout-out of gratitude for new McCauley Community League board members Regan Gee and Alice Kos for the important work to get the program started, and to neighbours Dave and Krista Williamson who showed up so often to help prepare and for safety field checks. There were many other folks who were able to help, and it all meant that this chance to play soccer could actually happen.We are so lucky.
I loved seeing the littles and the bigger kids at the field in the sunshine come and play together. I loved seeing children, including my daughter, come running up to and circling Allan and calling him coach, so genuinely happy and interested in playing the game. I loved seeing the older kids and teenagers coming early to the park while littles were having their lessons and then hanging out and playing together. It was a heartening and beautiful way to spend a summer evening. I was always glad to help.
It was a hopeful and happy program, even more so because it continues this autumn and into the winter at the old McCauley School (now the Intercultural Centre), with the support of parent and community volunteers. Soccer games and skill-building continue weekly on Saturdays. Alan is not a rare soul in this community. There are many such generous spirits, though it is important to admire and acknowledge and support each other and offer gratitude for such beautiful happenings. Thank you, Allan Suarez.
Ruth lives in McCauley with her partner and daughter.