The Golden Eagles, the independent co-ed soccer team comprising First Nations youth from across Vancouver Island, won their division in their firstever appearance at the Indigenous Soccer Cup in New Mexico.
In the July 22 final, team captain Ben Olsen netted the deciding goal in a 6-5 double-overtime victory over the Native Indian Football Association squad, also from B.C.
"Half of us cried," recalled Charlotte Charlie, the Golden Eagles' coach.
"A lot of my players have been stuck on the Island in Native ball and minorleague play. This meant the total world to them."
On June 17, the Times Colonist reported the Golden Eagles were struggling to raise the $17,150 they required for registration, travel and accommodation fees.
"We're definitely going to go back [to New Mexico] to defend our cup next year," Charlie said about the team's plans for the future. "We're going to fundraise way earlier.
Now that people know who we are, I don't think it'll be as hard getting sponsors."
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