Kalah Rayne Pottier-Guignard will get a chance to play what she calls her “favourite sport” on a bigger stage later this month.
The 14-year-old, who will enter Grade 9 at St. Charles College this fall, has been selected to play on Team Ontario's U16 soccer team in the North American Indigenous Games, which takes place in Regina, Sask., July 20-27.
The sporting event is open to teenage indigenous athletes from across North America competing in 21 different sports. Pottier-Guignard was among 16 athletes selected for the team from a pool of 24 girls.
She said she's really excited for the tournament.
“It's a little bit of pressure, but not that much,” said Pottier-Guignard, who plays for Sudburnia Soccer's U14 Galaxy Team, and plans to try out for St. Charles' soccer squad this coming school year.
“As long as I get to play, I'll put my heart into what I love to do.”
Having played soccer since she was eight years old, she said she loves the sport because it's good exercise and a great way to make friends.
While soccer is her sport of choice, it isn't the only one Pottier-Guignard competes in — she also plays volleyball and basketball, and is a fancy shawl Aboriginal dancer.
The teen will be joined at the sporting event by her mom, Jennifer Guignard, who has signed up as one of the team's chaperones.
Guignard said she thinks the North American Indigenous Games will be a great place for her daughter to meet more Aboriginal kids. It will also be a boost to her self-confidence, she said.
“There's no words to describe how proud I am of her,” Guignard said.