By Mark Squibb/November 11, 2021
A young soccer player from Conception Bay South has just returned from almost a week of training at the Vancouver Whitecaps’ training camp in Vancouver, BC.
Grace Nolan, 16, plays for the CBS Soccer Association, and was invited to train at the exclusive training camp because of the calibre of her skills.
She only found out about the trip two weeks before flying out on October 27.
“I was so excited,” said Nolan. “It was so exciting to go into a new atmosphere of soccer and experience it from a different point of view.”
Nolan was in BC for five days, which included three full days of training.
“It was a pretty intense environment, but it was an honour to be there and represent our province,” she said. “It’s certainly a motivation to keep going. You take a lot away from an experience like this as a player. You’re going into environments where people play extremely good.”
The Queen Elizabeth student started playing soccer when she was just four years old, meaning she’s been playing the game for as long as she can remember.
“I enjoy every part of it,” said Nolan. “Making new friends. Winning. Losing. It’s a great experience all together.”
The trip itself is a sign that the COVID-19 pandemic might be winding down. Athletes like Nolan spent the months long lockdown doing practices and drills at home. Even when athletes returned to the field, there were limitations and restrictions around tournaments and provincial travel.
Years of lockdowns and restrictions makes a trip across the country even more special.
“Travelling is one of the best parts about soccer, just seeing different places and how different provinces play,” said Nolan. “So, it’s great to be back to normal and actually be able to go out and train.”
CBS Soccer General Manager Darrin Bent said the trip is a great opportunity for the young player.
“It’s a huge honour to be chosen to do training there with their academy,” said Bent. “Very few are selected from this province, if any sometimes, and it’s great to have one of our own going. It’s a pathway to being recognized for pro teams and at this time with COVID, it’s great just to get the opportunity.”