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Sunday , 1 August 2021
McConnell is going to the Alberta Winter Games for a foot sport that's growing across the province.

Bonnyville boy representing area on futsal team at Alberta Winter Games

Connor McConnell is going to the 2020 Alberta Winter Games for a foot sport that’s growing across the province.

The 11-year-old middle schooler from Bonnyville has been selected for the provincial tournament in futsal, the indoor soccer-like game.

“It’s a harder ball, smaller,” said McConnell, explaining the differences between futsal and soccer.

Even the strategy changes.

“Everybody pushes up if one person has the ball and then everybody comes back. And you’re not allowed to use the boards but in indoor soccer you’re allowed to use the boards.”

The soccer player had only played futsal a couple of times, but was told of a tryout from a friend’s mom.

He then went to Fort McMurray to see how he would do.

“We just played a game mostly but we practiced a little bit for warmups,” said McConnell.

“Only 10 made it but there are three substitutes if somebody who’s sick or somebody can make it.”

The tournament begins in just under 60 days, from February 14-17 in Airdrie.

McConnell’s U13 team will represent the northeast zone and look to medal in a sport that’s historically only been played at the Arctic Winter Games.

“Futsal I haven’t been playing a lot. I only played it a couple of times but soccer I’ve been playing a long time,” he said.

“I feel excited. I’m meeting new people, trying new things.”

The young athlete’s first love is soccer, which he started playing at three-years-old, and he’s had Provincials level success already.

McConnell will play any after school sport though. He’s also ramping up for the start of basketball after Christmas.

“I want to thank my friend’s mom [Laura Phillips] for offering me this because otherwise, I would’ve never have made it.”

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.