Give him a ball, and he will play. Give him a problem, and he will connect the pieces to turn it into an opportunity.
During last year’s labour dispute, one of the many extraordinary stories still playing out is the brain child of student Lucas Robertson, who just entered Grade 7 at Gleneagles Ch’ax’ay. Passionate about soccer, Lucas began offering an academy-style mentoring soccer club from his back yard, teaching younger children to hone their skills.
“From a backyard club, interest really took off, and I had to find another place to offer the program,” explains Lucas, who is a graduate of the Ignite Your Passions Entrepreneurship program that launched last year through West Vancouver Secondary School.
When school went into session last fall, interest in Lucas’s club had grown too large to continue the sessions at his home, so he approached his principal, Scott Wallace, about offering the program in the school gym on Thursdays after school. Today, the after school club attracts 13 students from grades 4 – 7. He teamed up with his coach’s non-profit organization, freekicks, to give back to the sport he loves. Inspiring change, one free kick at a time, is the organization’s mission statement, and Lucas says he’s just getting started, because he and his brother have been coaching all summer long with younger children.
Adam Aziz, the coach who founded the organization and has inspired Lucas for several years on the field, says that Lucas and his brother Trevor, who also coaches younger students, are both amazing young men. He says the academy has raised $823 to date, which supports children around the world through freekicks programs.
“Lucas is a great leader with a fantastic entrepreneurial mind-set,” says Aziz. “Physically he is a blessed athlete with awesome soccer talent, but more than that he has a great and compassionate heart.”
Together, Adam and Lucas are planning a soccer tournament billed the “Spirit of Togetherness” where six schools, 3 WV and 3 inner city, will come together on September 25th, a Pro D day, at Ambleside Field. They secured sponsorship from Novus and Fresh Street Market to give out uniforms, lunch and a promotional water bottle. Schools will be mixed up with one girl and one boy from each attending school to form a team by country. The event is expected to draw many parents and supporters, who will also have the opportunity to contribute to the organization’s mission by participating in fundraising opportunities.
“This experience has changed me and the way I look at soccer and how it can bring people together and lift you up,” explains Lucas. “It makes me happy that I’m doing something good for people.”
Lucas says he and his coach are hoping to expand to a few more countries; currently the organization supports two schools in East Vancouver (and one in Surrey) by supplying soccer equipment and programs, along with support for a group of children in Uganda. The group’s International division supports building soccer fields, installing portable goal posts and purchasing equipment, mosquito nets and HIV screening for schools.
“The work I’m doing – I love it. And it supports a really great cause that makes me feel different and special,” says Lucas.
Lucas hopes to play professionally one day, and he’s well on his way to achieving that dream with the support of his parents, community and school. His determination, spirit and resourcefulness all point in the right direction for great things. A class act, for sure.