By Theresa Wells
If you ask young Kelsey Ellingson what she wants to do when she grows up she doesn’t hesitate to tell you that her ambition is to become a professional soccer player, followed by a career in coaching and mentoring other aspiring young players. Her ambition makes sense given her participation at the recent FC Edmonton Youth Soccer Clinic hosted at the Suncor Community Leisure Centre on February 7-9, an event that brought world-class professional soccer players and coaches from the FC Edmonton club to Fort McMurray to help aspiring local youth players hone their skills.
Kelsey, a 14-year old Grade Nine student and resident of Fort Chipewyan, came to the clinic with her parents after learning about the program through a friend. With the assistance of Mi KIDS, a program administered through the Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo (RRC) that provides barrier-free access to youth participation in sport and recreation in the Wood Buffalo region, she arrived in Fort McMurray excited about the prospect of participating in an organized soccer event designed to help her improve her skills.
Kelsey’s interest in sports isn’t limited to soccer, however. “I like basketball, volleyball, and track and field,” she says when asked what other sports she enjoys.
This young athlete also indicates that her passion for sports extends into her school life. Her mom, Tamera Ellingson, proudly says, “ On her last report card she came home with a 99% average in Phys Ed for the term,” and Kelsey happily shares that Physical Education is her favourite class in school.
Kelsey has even taken the initiative to approach her school principal about organizing after-hours soccer games for local youth using the school fields, an initiative the principal has encouraged and which she hopes to pursue when soccer season begins again this year.
Tamera says, “Kelsey is also very interested in becoming a life guard when the pool opens in Fort Chipewyan.” The pool she refers to is the Archie Simpson Arena Aquatic Expansion, a project on which the RRC broke ground in fall 2013 and which is scheduled to open to the community in 2015. “She keeps asking when she can begin training as a lifeguard because she is so excited by the idea.”
“I want to become a professional soccer player,” says Kelsey. “Later on I would like to coach professional soccer. Sometimes at the youth centre some kids want me to teach them some stuff about sports like basketball and soccer, so I try to help them out.”
This young woman shows strong leadership skills in sports and recreation, and plans to continue to pursue her sports excellence ambitions by taking advantage of opportunities such as the FC Edmonton Youth Soccer Clinic, an event made possible through a partnership between FC Edmonton and the Regional Recreation Corporation, and the continuation of a FC Edmonton commitment to bring professional soccer to the region.
Kelsey shares that while in Fort McMurray she plans to do some shopping, and when asked which store she wants to visit first she replies with a grin: “Sportchek!” Her mom laughs and says, “It’s always Sportchek, wherever we go, she is all about sports.”
“I am really excited to be at the soccer clinic,” shares Kelsey with a shy smile. “All the drills and learning different stuff to improve my soccer skills.”
One can’t help but be certain that this dynamic and enthusiastic young woman will not only continue to improve her sports skills but to shine as a future leader in this region and her community, providing a strong example of motivation and drive in the pursuit of excellence in the sports she loves.
The Mi KIDS program is open to all residents of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Applications can be submitted online at macdonaldisland.ca