Dribbling all the way to the B.C. Summer Games
Armstrong’s Ben Purvis has come a long way since his Little Kickers start at age three.
The 12-year-old soccer player, on the Vernon United team, will head to Surrey later this month for the B.C. Summer Games after earning his spot on the 14-person team out of 52 hopefuls. A technical director hand picked the candidates, who then went through two tryouts to make the team. Competing against boys from Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon, the Shuswap and Kamloops, Ben is just one of two players from the five Vernon candidates to make the team, joined by Owen Miller.
At 5:45 a.m. July 19, the group will bus out of Kelowna to join over 3,000 other athletes from across the province.
“I’ve had tournaments for my Vernon team, but nothing this big,” Ben said of the upcoming experience. “I think they (the games) are going to be really extravagant; big and busy. I think it’s going to be hard; I expect it to be more challenging than any competition I’ve ever been in.”
After arriving that first day, they’ll participate in the opening ceremonies dressed in their soccer gear but won’t start playing until Friday. Prior to going, the team will play some exhibition games against Prince George to prepare both groups for the main event, though they’ve been having practices twice a week as well.
Having received a 28-page booklet on everything athletes need to know for the games, the family has a pretty good idea of what to expect.
“They’re very thorough in prepping the kids and families,” his mom Heather Purvis said.
Which is good as the team will be travelling together, independently of parents, with just the coach and assistant coach for guidance. That, however, doesn’t worry Heather.
“I think it’s good; I think he can handle it,” she said, adding that the team is pretty focused. “They’re serious soccer players. They’re athletes, they take the game seriously.”
Up next for Ben, whose ultimate goal is to play for FC Barcelona in Spain, is hopefully moving up from his current rep team to the High Performance League, which has bigger fields, bigger nets and is the required level to be scouted by universities. He won’t hear if he made the cut until after the summer games as organizers didn’t want to discourage those players if they didn’t make HPL. With practices for that league running three times a week, and Ben going into Grade 7 at the Vernon Christian School, he’ll have a lot on his plate, as will his parents in getting him to different events.
“We just take it one season at a time,” Heather explained of Ben’s future.