Local soccer player joins B.C. squad

Tre Loewen will compete at the North American Indigenous Games

Sixteen-year-old goal-keeper Tre Loewen has been asked to join the B.C. squad that will be competing at the North American Indigenous Games

Work hard and show your skills… and someone might notice.

That’s how it turned out for 16-year-old Tre Loewen. Tre (pronounced “Tray”) was playing goalie for the Fraser Valley team at the provincial aboriginal soccer playdowns at Seabird Island last fall. His team placed third out of five — but Loewen’s skills were noted and he was placed on the tournament’s all-star list.

Fast forward to early June, the team that won the Seabird tournament, Team Northwest, invited Loewen to join them as their keeper when they go to the North American Indigenous Games in Regina Saskatchewan.

Team Northwest is based out of Hazelton, which is sending U16 and U18 boys’ teams to the games. Team manager Toni Muldoe said the U18 team doesn’t have a full roster and their current goalie wants to play out in the field.

“Tre was our first pick off the all-star list,” said Muldoe. “He was one of the better goalies there.”

Contacting Loewen wasn’t easy, so the Hazelton team asked a Fraser Valley coordinator to track him down.

“We met up with the woman, that was trying to get a hold of us, at Walmart in Chilliwack,” said Loewen. “I have to pay $310 and get my gear and spending money.

“I’m going this weekend to Hazelton, for a fundraiser tournament,” he added.

It will be a long drive.

“We’re five hours northwest of Prince George and three hours from Prince Rupert,” said Muldoe. “We’re hoping for seven or eight teams. It’s a men’s tournament but we’ll be playing up. The boys won in a men’s tournament last week.”

Loewen is used to playing amongst men, as he played for the Sto:lo Braves men’s team in Division 4a in the Fraser Valley last winter.

The Hazelton teams will be flying out of Terrace but Loewen will fly from Vancouver with other athletes who are going to the games, which run from July 20 to 27.

The games attract aboriginal athletes from all provinces and territories of Canada and 13 regions of the U.S.A. Events include track and field, canoe and kayak, archery, badminton, basketball, golf, lacrosse, rifle shooting, softball, volleyball, swimming, wrestling and soccer. B.C. will be sending 550 athletes.

Loewen is the second Hope-based athlete to play soccer at the North American Indigenous Games in recent years.

Tyler Paul-Marino went to the games in Denver in 2006, where his team won gold. He also played at the Cowichan games in 2008, where his team placed second.

In both years, it was Saskatchewan that Paul-Marino’s team faced in the finals.

This time, the hosts won’t have to worry about jet lag.