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Pickering soccer players inspired by national team’s Olympic journey

By Aaron Streck, Global TV, 08/04/21, 9:15AM EDT


The Canadian women’s soccer team is on the verge of Olympic history as they play for gold later this week.

Back in Pickering, it’s inspiring the next generation.

Rachel Iskandar has been spending the summer coaching Pickering FC’s soccer camp. The 16-year-old has also been juggling her own training while following the women’s national team at the Olympics.

“Wake up, watch a little bit of it then maybe I’ll fall back to sleep, but I was just proud of what just happened to Canada and what we pulled through, especially in that game against the States,” said Iskandar.

Iskandar has been playing soccer since she was three and has been inspired by what she’s seen in Tokyo.

“It pushed me even more to listen to my coaches, to always be present and to make sure that these dreams are possible and now they’re not really dreams anymore, they’re more goals,” said Iskandar.

“Jayde Riviere, they all started somewhere,” said Bleda Beto, Pickering FC player. National team members, Jayde Riviere, Nichelle Prince and Kailen Sheridan have all come through the

Pickering program. Pickering FC head goalkeeper coach Adam Whitehead says he always saw Riviere’s potential.  “I remember working with Jayde years ago and you could always tell there was something special with her — she always had the drive, she always had it in her that she wanted to get to the next step,” said Whitehead.

“I want to be something great like that,” said Beto.

Canada will have to get by Sweden if they want to win our country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal in women’s soccer, something that is not lost on those at Pickering FC.

“The grassroots program is really to develop a love for the game and seeing these players that have come through our system now performing on an Olympic stage going towards the gold medal game it’s huge,” said Hollie Babut, Pickering FC Grassroots Director.

As for Iskandar, she says she can’t wait to watch the women go for gold as Canada takes to the pitch Thursday night.