The Bishop Marrocco Thomas Merton Catholic Secondary School soccer team decided they wanted to help a remote Northern Ontario community after hearing about the Attawapiskat suicide crisis this past spring.
“It was all over the media,” said Daniel Romano, coach of the team known as the Royals.
“The idea came about having these kids go down there, bring our soccer kids and maybe running a mental health soccer camp for them.”
Late last month The Royals and their coaches headed up North to host a week-long training camp to teach basic soccer skills and share their love for the game with local students.
“It was more about a lesson in humanity,” said Romano.
“We use soccer as an outlet here at Bishop Marracco. Our students have some of their own crisis and they suffer some of their own challenges. They use soccer as a therapy, and we just thought, let’s go there with something we can share with them.”
The team conducted three-hour daily training sessions, beginning with elementary students each morning and high school students in the afternoons.
The Royals brought over gifts of shoes, balls, nets and uniforms with the hope that their new friends will carry on where they left off.
“There was this one kid, he was like the worst in the whole town everyone said,” said Nuno Dacruz, a student athlete.
“Then after a couple of days of him playing soccer, he said he is going to stop all the trouble because he loves playing soccer.”
“The boys realize they have served a purpose,” said Romano. “I think the Attawapiskat community served a purpose in our boy’s lives as well.”