Dwayne De Rosario signs autographs for two lucky fans during a meet and greet on Feb. 22 at the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Dwayne De Rosario inspires Yukon futsal teams ahead of Arctic Winter Games

The soccer great was in Whitehorse for two days of futsal sessions with local players

Canadian soccer great Dwayne De Rosario was in Whitehorse last weekend for nearly a dozen on-court sessions with Yukon’s Arctic Winter Games (AWG) futsal teams and local youth players on Feb. 22 and 23 at the Canada Games Centre.

In addition to the futsal sessions, De Rosario also participated in a cultural presentation that included the Kwänlin Dághàalhaan K’e dancers as well as the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Junior Cancan Line on Saturday, and a question and answer session with the AWG players on Feb. 23.

For De Rosario, the opportunity to work with players in the Yukon doubled as a chance to see more of the country – something he said he’s trying to prioritize.

“I’ve always wanted to explore Canada a little bit more and when I had the opportunity to come to Yukon, I couldn’t turn that down,” said De Rosario during a break in the action on Feb. 22. “From what I’ve seen, (Whitehorse) seems like a nice small town. But most importantly, it was nice to work with the kids today.”

De Rosario said that joining in with the Kwänlin Dághàalhaan K’e dancers was the perfect warmup for the day.

“It was fun, but it was a lot of work. It burned my thighs a little bit,” De Rosario joked. “But for me, again, it was an opportunity to meet some of the First Nations community and appreciate what they’ve done for Canada in terms of culture and, for me, it was important.”

As far as the futsal being played here in the Yukon, De Rosario said there was some nice talent in the territory.

“I was pleasantly impressed. I didn’t come here with any expectations — I just came here to have an opportunity to work with the kids and to see where they’re at,” said De Rosario.

“Obviously, Yukon is a territory that might feel overlooked in the sense of access and availability to professional or national team programs, but hopefully with Vancouver and the Whitecaps program being so close they’re looking at the development here in the Yukon.”

The burgeoning relationship between the Yukon soccer community and the Whitecaps is paying dividends, as a handful of youth players have already benefited from the academy centre program in Whitehorse.

“There is obviously a lot of talent here and it’s about developing and nurturing that talent to make sure they get the proper pathway,” said De Rosario.

Sean Alden, the man who spearheaded the effort to get De Rosario to Whitehorse, said the visit did what he hoped it would.

“I think I managed to accomplish everything I set out to do in terms of giving the Arctic Winter Games teams the ability to be inspired,” said Alden. “(To) have the youth players be exposed to an individual of Dwayne’s calibre, … to help motivate the younger players and the youth players and maybe restimulate the soccer environment.”

Alden said De Rosario keyed in on a couple of concepts during the sessions.

“Dwayne’s number one focus is energy,” said Alden. “So you bring energy to training, you bring energy to the game. If you’ve done the rest, you’re going to get something out of it. So if you’ve got the focus, bring the energy, and you’re good.”

The timing of that message couldn’t have been better for the AWG teams, with competition just over two weeks away.

“That was a really nice attribute to really focus in on just for the simple fact it’s a long process and this is a unique environment,” said Alden. “To keep that energy up and to keep that desire to work hard is difficult. Setting a goal and setting another goal upon that and working through the hard times — those are the three things he really emphasized with the Arctic Winter Games teams.”

The weekend ended on a high note, with De Rosario donning a number 14 jersey and the captain’s armband for a Yukon men’s team in an exhibition match against the U18 Yukon Select boys team on Feb. 23.

Unsurprisingly, the all-time leading goal scorer for the men’s national team managed to find the back of the net and treated the crowd to his trademark “shake and bake” goal celebration.

For Alden, that was what put the whole weekend over the top.

“That was the cherry on it for the event,” said Alden. “I’m getting some great feedback — it’s a little overwhelming — so I think I’m ready to move on to the next one for sure.”

Who that player will be is yet to be determined, but what is clear is the fact there is an appetite and desire within the futsal community to learn from the best.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (yfned.ca)
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Most Read