At any given moment, there’s a pretty good chance David has soccer on the brain. When the 8-year-old isn’t in class at St. Elizabeth Catholic Elementary, he’s probably organizing pick-up games with his classmates at recess, tearing around the field playing Free Footie after school, or just kicking a ball around for fun with friends from around his housing complex. And when it’s time to relax at home? Well, there you’ll find him with the Xbox, sharpening his moves in Pro Evolution Soccer. “He just doesn’t get tired when it comes to soccer,” says David’s mom, Mary.

David has been kicking a ball around since he was a little kid, and played on his first team when he was 5, as part of a community league on the north side of Edmonton. Mary, David, and his two younger siblings have lived in the city for 11 years, and when they moved to Mill Woods back in 2016, David dreamed of finding another team. These days, his favourite position to play is forward, but Mary thinks his defensive skills are coming along, too. “He’s really good at attacking the ball,” she says. “He’s gotten very good at that.”

This is David’s first year playing Free Footie, and Mary hopes he’ll be back again next year, because she’s witnessed firsthand what a good experience it’s been for him. Thanks to the program David has made new friends, gotten plenty of exercise, and, most importantly, had a blast playing the game he loves in an organized, fun environment.

Plus, he’s extra motivated by who’s out in the crowd, cheering him on.
“David really plays well when I’m there,” Mary says with a laugh. “Because when I’m there, I scream too much, and cheer for him. So I see him playing really good when I’m there screaming his name.”