A star player from the Vancouver Whitecaps was in Nanaimo yesterday inspiring young players on the pitch.
Alphonso Davies and teammates came over to the Island for the annual Hope and Health soccer camp at Merle Logan Field.
Davies, who recently signed with top German club Bayern Munich, was back for a second year taking part in the Nanaimo camp which promotes the sport and physical activity to mainly indigenous children on Vancouver Island.
“Coming out here and hanging out with these kids is always a blast … I’m just enjoying my time with them,” Davies said.
When he was growing up in Edmonton, he said he got a chance to spend time with pro soccer players there and really appreciated that opportunity.
Davies said as minor soccer players get ready to start their season, they should be trying to focus on their fitness and make sure they’re ready to run all game long. He said early in soccer season, team bonding is important in order to build a group that will stick together.
Most of all, he said, players should “just have fun and be a kid. Go out there and play, make friends.”
Some of the other Whitecaps players at this year’s Hope and Health soccer camp were Brek Shea, Kei Kamara and Felipe.
“It was a great time,” Shea said. “I came last year and had a lot of fun, met a lot of cool kids; this year I got to see them again and come back here and teach kids soccer and also just to help them smile and run around with them.”
Players can help pass along a few soccer skills tips in a one-day camp, but Shea said he also tried to get across some worthwhile messages.
“Whatever you do, make sure you love what you’re doing, because then it doesn’t seem like work,” he said. “I love soccer, so when I was young, I put all this extra work in and it didn’t feel like work for me because I just loved doing it.”