Eleven-year-old Ryley Methot of St. Catharines was excited to meet Brantford Galaxy professional soccer players over the weekend while camping at Tim Horton Onondaga Farms near St. George.
“I learned a lot,” Methot said. “It’s awesome to see a professional team. When do you get a chance to play with a professional soccer team?”
Fifteen players on the local club’s Canadian Soccer League squad and youth team met with 150 children during a visit to the camp on Saturday morning.
Galaxy players demonstrated soccer drills, signed autographs and shared laughs with children at the camp.
Run by the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation, the camp offers a fun-filled experience for children from economically disadvantaged homes.
Barb Weeden, general manager of Tim Horton Onondaga Farms said hosting Galaxy players will inspire the children.
“We try to give children experiences they would not normally get,” Weeden said. “By bringing in some pros, the players can share with them their life stories, encourage the children to never give up, to follow their dreams and to get out and get active.
“There are children here from across Ontario, a few from the east and west coasts and the U.S. This will definitely be one of the highlights of their 10-day (camping) session.”
Weeden said the visit from Galaxy players will mean a lot to many of the children at the camp.
“There are a lot of kids here that don’t get the opportunity to play organized sports because their families can’t afford it,” she said. “Keeping healthy and active will help them in their future successes.”
Galaxy forward Ranko Golijanin said he was happy to visit with the campers.
“We like to be with the kids and share our soccer experience,” Golijanin said. “To play any sport is a great thing in their lives.
“We are here to work with them and enjoy the day.”
Gerry Crnic, general manager of the Brantford Galaxy said the visit was an excellent way to give back to Tim Hortons, one of the soccer club’s sponsors.
“This is also an excellent way for the children to be introduced to Brantford Galaxy youth players as well,” he said.