Free soccer program needs equipment

Franks Woods and Hervey Simard

Franks Woods (left) and Hervey Simard (right) are hoping to start a Soccer Academy for the student body of l’Ecole Victor-Brodeur.

Hervey Simard is an IT Supervisor for the Victoria Police Department by trade and ex-military member, but in his free time he coaches soccer for the Victoria Highlanders, Prospect Lake Soccer Club and school teams at L’école Victor-Brodeur, a French Language school in Esquimalt.

When the most recent school soccer season wrapped up, he was approached by a large number of students interested in playing.
“I’d have kids coming up while I was coaching asking if they could play,” says Simard. “I thought there must be a way I can get something going for kids that aren’t already on a team.”

Simard then pitched an idea, which he talked about over the summer with fellow Highlander coach Frank Woods, to the staff of Victor-Brodeur: a free soccer program, open to everyone, that would take place during the lunch hour. The program was given the green light, with the school even offering to cover basic costs.

“We talked over the summer on creating such an academy at Victor-Brodeur. With many students having international background it made sense,” says Woods.

Simard and Woods will coach the program during the school’s lunch hour to give youth that are busy after school a chance to play.

“Many of these kids come from military families, so their parents sometimes keep very busy schedules,” says Simard.
The program starts Feb.4 and takes place twice weekly. The Monday session is for kids in Grades five, six, and seven, while Thursdays are for Grades eight, nine, and 10.

“It’s a great way to stay fit and make friends,” says Simard. “We want to promote healthy lifestyle, but more importantly how to be honest and respectful on and off the field.”

While the basic costs of the program are being covered, the program still lacks equipment.

“The school was very upfront about covering our basic costs, but Victor-Brodeur is a small school. They simply don’t have the resources to buy equipment,” say Simard.

Simard is hoping for a little help from the community. An email account has been set up so prospective donators can contact Simard directly. Messages can be sent to vbsocceracademy@gmail.com to figure out the best way to lend a hand.

“Anything helps. We can work directly to figure out what works best for them,” says Simard.

Everything from balls to shirts to transportation will eventually be needed, so donations of any kind are welcome.

“Some of the kids might not have proper shoes, or shorts, or things like that. We want them to be able to come out to play without having to worry about that stuff,” says Simard.

-Shawn O’Hara, Staff Writer

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