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ICYMI: Kicks for Kids gets Squamish soccer parents off the sidelines

Second annual fundraiser will support Sea to Sky families with registration and uniform fees.

Usually, it’s the parents standing on the sidelines, but this summer they’ll be taking the field.

During the upcoming Kicks for Kids fundraiser on July 6, the Squamish soccer world will see a startling role reversal—moms and dads vying for the ball, weaving through the opposition as they rush the goal, all while their children watch and cheer. 

As it was conceived by Cam Ellis, the community engagement specialist with Howe Sound Soccer League, this event would be a chance for adults to spend the day as role models. Seeing the adults take physical activity seriously, and seeing them have fun doing it, is intended to be one of the most developmentally impactful elements for the budding young players.

“This initiative was born from myself and Cole Wilson. The two of us were born and raised in the community of Squamish and soccer has been an integral part of our upbringing. We remember playing soccer every Saturday morning, and when we look back now, it’s amazing to think about all the hard work coaches and volunteers did for us,” he told The Squamish Chief. 

The event will take place at Howe Sound Secondary School. Each of the adult players in the game will pay a $20 admission fee, which goes towards their fundraising. Last year they set a target of raising $4,000, which was met, so this year they’ve doubled it. The funds go towards registration and uniform fees, and provide a pair of socks to every single player in the fall house program. Last year that meant handing out 406 pairs of socks. 

“We wanted to provide that opportunity to play soccer to as many kids as possible because we believe every kid should have the opportunity to pursue their passion for a sport. In this day and age it’s pretty tough when kids want to do numerous sports, there’s administration fees and equipment and everything,” Ellis said.

“Not everybody can afford that, so we want to raise money to help those families.”

Last year’s funds ultimately supported 17 families in pursuing soccer for the year. The goal is to reach under-serviced communities such as Lillooet, Pemberton and Mount Currie.

While the parents are playing, a Kid Zone will be available so the adults can focus on their footwork, and afterwards, there will be a community barbecue.

Ellis said last year’s event was a blast, and he can’t wait to do it again.

“Organizing an event is no easy task. It was a mix of stress, panic and gratitude. I was just in awe the entire time. We had about 80 people come down to the field, and the mix of sunny weather and smiles everywhere, people having a good time, I do really appreciate that sense of community belonging,” he said.

“Squamish has grown and changed in a lot of ways, and I feel as cities grow, we need to look through the weeds and remember the community we came from. That’s what the day was for me.”

The event begins at 11 a.m. on July 6 and runs until 2 p.m. To register, visit the Howe Sound Soccer League website

*Please note that this story has been corrected since it was first posted to clarify that the event will be at Howe Sound Secondary, not on Field Four by the concession stand, as was first written. (That is where it was last year.)