VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced on Thursday a significant contribution to its partners at Hope and Health and Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services to install the first two soccer pitches in a series of mini-pitches across Indigenous communities. The first two pitches will be built in partnership with the Penelakut Tribe and Snuneymuxw First Nation.
“Two of the biggest priorities at our club are to build stronger communities and grow the game across Canada,” said Axel Schuster, Whitecaps FC sporting director and chief executive officer. “For many years, participating in the annual Hope and Health community camps has been a very rewarding experience for our players and staff. With these new Mini-Pitches and our ongoing partnership with Hope and Health, we are very excited to continue supporting the development of Indigenous youth.”
The pitches will provide innovative, high quality and inspiring play environments to engage Indigenous children and youth in the beautiful game. At the same time, they will help develop soccer skills, along with activating a 5V5 Champions League across nations.
“2021 marks Hope and Health’s ten-year anniversary delivering our highly popular annual community camps and H3 community based multi-week programming in partnership with Whitecaps FC and multiple Indigenous communities,” said Deana Gill, Hope and Health executive director. “We’re very grateful to the Whitecaps for their commitment and significant financial contribution to this project and are very excited about this new league and mini-pitches. This offers the youth such an inspirational space to play within their own territory, and the high touch style of 5V5 will surely accelerate their technical development and above all us, levels up the fun factor.”
The first community of focus is Penelakut Tribe, a remote Indigenous community situated on Penelakut Island, accessible by ferry from Vancouver Island. The pitch will be ready for play on September 13th.
“This mini-pitch is going to bring so much opportunity to our youth’s future in soccer,” said Joan Brown, Penelakut Chief. “The opportunity to develop the skills needed to excel in the development of their game, and most importantly the ability to stay active in the sport that they love.”
The Penelakut Tribe Mini-Pitch was supported by the MLS Players Association who made a recent donation to Hope and Health, along with funds raised through Hope and Health’s “Tell the Truth. Be the Change.” orange shirt campaign, featuring meaningful artwork from Coast Salish artist and Penelakut Tribe member Maynard Johnny Jr.
The second community of focus is Snuneymuxw First Nation, a First Nation of the Coast Salish People, located in the centre of Coast Salish territory on the eastern coast of Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and the Fraser River. This soccer pitch will be ready in spring of 2022. Helijet is also a significant contributor with the Snuneymuxw Mini-Pitch, a long term partner of Hope and Health and with a heliport situated on their territory.
“This mini-pitch is an innovative space for our youth to play the beautiful game and is aligned with our community’s wellness vision to offer youth opportunities to partake in sports based activities at such an important stage in their lives” said Mike Wyse, Snuneymuxw Chief. “The wrap around programming is a major asset that I am confident will accelerate development and be a driver to maximize engagement.”
The pitches are being built in partnership with Musco Mini-Pitch System™ modular sports solution.
About Hope and Health
The Hope and Health movement utilizes the beautiful game of soccer and mentorship to inspire hope, as well as improve the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and life conditions for Indigenous children and youth. Our team is committed to come together as one heart, one mind to maximize sport as a tool for reconciliACTION in relation to the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls To Action, specific to Sports and Reconciliation (87-91) Our vision is for Indigenous children and youth to carry themselves with pride and confidence, achieve their highest potential and dream big.
For Hope & Health partnership interest and media enquiries contact:
Executive Director of Hope and Health