Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Nothing, nobody holds her back

Missing arm no handicap for girl with hot left foot on soccer pitch

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SWANàRIVERà-- It seems there isn't anything Dae-Lynn Reimer can't do.

At first glance, the diminutive midfielder for the Winnipeg Gold girls soccer team looks like any other girl at the 2012 Power Smart Manitoba Summer Games.

She warms up before every game by dribbling the ball down the field and firing a shot in the net off her left foot, but she wasn't always a lefty on the pitch.

"Because I was born without an arm, I would usually tip over a little bit and lose my balance when I played with my right (foot), so I had to learn to kick with my left foot so that I was more balanced and smooth on the field," Reimer said. "Now my shots are pretty good with my left."

Reimer, who is missing her left arm just below her elbow, could have chosen to dwell on the missing limb. Instead, she's turned it into a positive.

"It was tough at the start to learn how to play with my left, but after a while I started saying, 'Yeah, I can do this,' " Reimer said. "It's a switch that I didn't want to do, but I love the sport of soccer and I'll do anything to play it."

The missing arm has also meant she's had to grow some tough skin on the field at times.

"There's been some people that have called me a 'fail' because I have one arm, and I always say, 'Thanks, but that's your opinion, and who cares?' " Reimer said.

"I tell myself that I can do anything because anything is possible when you put your mind to it and put all your effort into it."

On Wednesday at the Summer Games, Reimer proved with hard work and dedication comes success when her Winnipeg Gold team scored two goals in overtime to win the gold medal.

"All we wanted was to win this gold medal, especially since we're Winnipeg Gold, so it's awesome," said a beaming Reimer.

"We were so nervous before the game, and then once we got that first goal, we were like, 'We can do this!' "

The moment was made more special by the fact her mother, Team Gold manager Lyla Priestley, was able to watch her every step of the way.

"It is really special to me to have her here," Reimer said. "It means so much because she appreciates us and is so proud of us."

With tears of joy in her eyes, Priestley couldn't help but think of all the trials and tribulations her daughter has had to overcome to win gold.

"She's a very strong, opinionated girl, and she's tough and likes to be involved in everything," Priestley said. "She's turned everything into a positive, and once she gets her mind set to do something, she is going to do it."

Winnipeg Gold defeated Winnipeg Blue 3-1 in the final to win gold.

As the final game of the day on the pitches in Swan River, the match attracted a lot of attention as fans lined both sides of the field.

In the end, after Jojo Ngongo put the Gold team up in the first overtime, it was an Alycia Mann goal that she bent around the keeper into the bottom half of the net that sealed the victory.

"I was hoping that I wasn't going to miss," Mann said about the goal, for which she ran in all alone on the keeper.

"We worked really hard for this and it feels really amazing."

-- The Brandon Sun

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 19, 2012 D4

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