Even though 16-year-old Shauntelle Dick-Charleson played an active role as a youth representative in the Songhees Nation’s bid to host the 2020 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG), she is not disappointed that the Games are not coming to Victoria for this next round. Halifax, NS, or K’jipuktuk as it’s called by the Mi’kmaq, has been chosen to be the host city; this marks the first time NAIG will take place in the Maritimes. The event will draw more than 6000 athletes and spectators from 756 Indigenous nations across North America. Shauntelle is thrilled to represent the Hesquiaht and Songhees Nations along with her women’s soccer team and is excited to have the opportunity to see the East Coast of Canada.
Competitive sport is second nature – and third generation – for Shauntelle. Her father and grandfather played for the T-Birds Soccer Club in Victoria. Her father urged Shauntelle to channel her strong will and competitive spirit towards the soccer pitch. As she began to excel in the sport, he encouraged her to draw inspiration from the world’s best soccer players by watching archival footage on YouTube and paying close attention to their technique. From Messi, Argentina’s star player, she was inspired to learn to play skillfully with both feet. From Pele, the legendary Brazilian player, Shauntelle was inspired that his humble roots from an impoverished nation ignited his drive to hone his skills to become the best footballer in the world.
Shauntelle, or “Shauntizzle” as she is called by her coach and teammates, is enrolled at the Centre for Soccer Excellence at Reynolds High School. This specialized program merges soccer training with academic pursuits, and focuses on sport science, fitness, nutrition, strength training, sport physiology, sport psychology, time-management, goal setting, leadership skills, coaching philosophies, and rules of the game. Shauntelle also cross-trains in other sports like football, frisbee, basketball and volleyball.
She also commits to additional weekly strength and conditioning in PISE’s Fuelling Youth Performance1 program for indigenous youth. She credits her trainers Lindsay and Chris for helping her to rehabilitate from a calf muscle tear that sidelined her last season. At PISE she has also improved the efficiency and effectiveness of her strength-training, adopting a new motivation to push through when things get tough. Never the biggest fan of push-ups, now she approaches her sets in terms of small victories – “just 5 more” she tells herself when she wants to take a break.
Shauntelle isn’t just a burgeoning soccer star. She is also a slam poet who has competed in local competitions over the past several years. The confidence she has cultivated on the soccer pitch is the same she accesses when sharing her perspectives on First Nations issues that are close to her heart – the legacy of residential school, status cards, pipeline construction through First Nations land, and inclusivity in the Canadian anthem.
Soccer, however, will always be her first love. Shauntelle calls soccer her “drug” – what she turns to when she needs motivation and inspiration, where she goes when she wants to work out what is bugging her. Watch for Shauntelle in the 2020 North American Indigenous Games. Beyond that, she has her sights set on earning a place on the Canadian Women’s Soccer Team.
1.The Fuelling Youth Performance program is proudly presented by Island Savings, a Division of First West Credit Union.
~submitted by Andrea Ting-Letts | Brand Your Bliss