Students in Clover Bar Junior High’s soccer program had a special visitor last week.
Professional soccer player, Tosaint Ricketts, stopped by the school on Thursday (Dec.20). Originally from Edmonton, Ricketts talked to students about the path he took to become a professional athlete and answered questions about his life as a national soccer star.
"It was a great experience to learn from a professional,” says Aiden Hawrelechko, a student in Clover Bar’s soccer program. “It’s helpful to be able to understand how he was able to turn soccer into his career.”
The take-away lessons varied from student to student, but most saw it as an eye-opener to refocus on their own personal goals. Ricketts’ success as a professional athlete didn’t come about by chance, it was the product of a lot of hard work and dedication. He stressed to students how important it was for him to focus on university-level play, and to take advantage of the athletic scholarships that are available for those who push themselves to excel.
The visit wasn’t all talk, however. After the more formal presentation, the students got to head out onto the field along with Ricketts to measure their own skills against a professional.
“We all had a lot of fun but the students also treated it as a serious test of their abilities,” says Jeff Burback, the head coach of the soccer program. “They all wanted to try to best him in a one-on-one match.”
While the students may have a bit more work to do before they reach the professional level, they came away from the experience with new drive and a clear goal in mind.