Whitecaps bring message of hope and health

The Vancouver Whitecaps FC soccer team held its annual Hope and Health event in Nanaimo this week.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC player Steven Beitashour coaches youths as part of the Hope and Health soccer clinic Wednesday at Merle Logan Field.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC player Steven Beitashour coaches youths as part of the Hope and Health soccer clinic Wednesday at Merle Logan Field.

The whole world has come down with soccer fever, and some of that enthusiasm filled Nanaimo sports fields this week.

The Vancouver Whitecaps FC held their annual Hope and Health event in the city, with motivational talks on Tuesday night at the Port Theatre followed by soccer skills clinics Wednesday at Merle Logan Field.

Many high-profile ‘Caps were in town, including coach Carl Robinson and players Darren Mattocks, Kekuta Manneh, Gershon Koffie, Jordan Harvey, Steven Beitashour and others.

“Being a professional athlete, it’s what gives us enjoyment – the fans, the kids, so it’s always great to give back,” Beitashour said.

The defender has an especially inspiring story now, as he just returned from the World Cup in Brazil where he was a member of the Iranian national team.

“The World Cup, that’s as big as it gets and I always dreamed about that and for it to come true, it was unbelievable,” he said. “I’ll remember every little detail about it. The whole experience, mostly the fans.”

He said the streets in Brazil were filled with kids playing soccer. He didn’t see other types of sports venues like basketball courts – just soccer fields, everywhere.

“They might not be in the best condition, they might be dirt, but [the kids] are enjoying it,” Beitashour said. “They have a soccer ball and a bunch of friends out there and they all have fun with it.”

Iran had one draw and two losses at the tournament and Beitashour didn’t see game action, so he’ll remain motivated.

“You don’t want to just settle. The World Cup’s a great achievement to be part of, but my goal is to go play, so hopefully I can work hard and get another shot at the 2018 World Cup and hopefully play,” he said. “I’ll always increase the level of the goal and if I ever achieve it, I’ll make a new one.”

It’s the sort of message that is central to Hope and Health. The Whitecaps want to inspire youths, if not to make it to the World Cup, then just to play.

“I think every kid should start off playing soccer and hopefully they continue on as they’re older,” Beitashour said. “It’s one of those sports that’s … great for teamwork, you have camaraderie with the other kids and it’s just a fun, fun game to play.”

The event was presented by Kw’umut Lelum child and family services and Smun’eem aboriginal child and family service agency. This was the third annual Hope and Health event in Nanaimo.

sports@nanaimobulletin.comTwitter: @BulletinSports

Just Posted

Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson has released his debut novel, ‘The Book of Nodd.’ (Photo courtesy Nora Funk)
Nanaimo author invites readers into dangerous world of dreams in debut novel

B.S. Thompson unveils ‘The Book of Nodd’ with online launch June 20

Potters Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter present their joint exhibit ‘Dig It’ at Art 10 Gallery until the end of June. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Potters show pieces for home and garden at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter’s show ‘Dig It’ on display until end of June

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read