CHEK Upside: Victoria soccer team donates $13,000 to KidSport charity

CHEK Upside: Victoria soccer team donates $13,000 to KidSport charity
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For nearly two years, girls from a Greater Victoria Under-12 select team had been eagerly waiting for a dream team trip to Japan.

“We were going to try and play in a league over there and watch the Olympics,” said Ada Butcher.

They even had plans to watch their soccer heroes from the Canadian Women’s national soccer team play on the game’s biggest stage.

It was an endeavour that took many hours of fundraising — everything from raffles to selling donuts.

“We were raising for almost two years and then COVID happened,” said Clara Sahota. “It was really sad,” said the 13-year-old.

The team was devastated, but after juggling around a few ideas, the girls had a new goal in sight.

‘There’s other kids who love soccer like me but they can’t afford to play so we wanted to give money to those kids,” said 12-year-old Amana Bandechha.

They decided to donate their fundraising dollars to Kidsport Victoria — a charity that provides underprivileged youth with an opportunity to play sports.

“$13,000 worth of funding from this team means that we’ll have an opportunity to reach 44 local kids and teens,” said Jill Shaw, executive director of Greater Victoria KidSport. “Those are kids who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to participate.”

“We wanted to do it because it would help players who maybe don’t get the chance to get to play soccer,” added Butcher.

The players say they’re happy to share the joy of soccer with others.

“I feel happy being that other kids will be able to feel the same way,” said Sahota.

As a thank you, KidSport Greater Victoria organized a zoom call featuring Team Canada players Stephanie Labbe and Desiree Scott.

Scott, a KidSport ambassador, answered several questions and expressed her gratitude to the players for their donation.

“I was actually a KidSport kid growing up so I know firsthand the impact that you guys are having on kids,” said Scott to the team via the zoom chat.

“They were really nice in the meeting and it was amazing,” said Bandechha.

“It was so cool,” added Butcher. “A once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Although they may have missed out on an adventurous trip overseas, the team provided a major assist to others, Giving the gift of the game they love.

Kevin CharachKevin Charach

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