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This article was published 2/11/2014 (2800 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
SHE'S an Olympic medallist in soccer with a goal to win another, but Desiree Scott will never forget where she came from.
Scott, who grew up in Winnipeg and is a member of Canada's national women's soccer team that won bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games, hosted the first annual Desiree Scott KidSport Winnipeg Soccer Camp presented by Elite Performance at the Seven Oaks Soccer-Plex on Sunday with 120 girls participating in the all-female skills camp.
While most of the families paid $125 for two hours of soccer instruction led by Scott, a T-shirt emblazoned with the statement (referring to Scott's nickname) "Destroyer in the making," a pizza lunch and autograph session, one-third of the players participating were funded by KidSport through donations by numerous local businesses and community members.
Scott came from the school of hard knocks in soccer, and when money was a barrier, KidSport helped open the door for her.
"KidSport is close to my heart, and it's an honour to be a KidSport ambassador. When I was younger, my mom couldn't afford registration coming up so KidSport kept me on the pitch," said Scott, 27, who plays professionally in England for Notts County in the FA Women's Super League, the top division in female professional soccer in England. It has 18 teams in two divisions.
"I'm so happy be able to do this camp and do whatever I can to give back and encourage these players, get them excited about soccer, get them active and have some fun."
So there was Scott on Sunday morning, energetic and effervescent, coaching girls in soccer skills and then getting down to business meeting the kids, which was what every girl at the camp really came there for.
At the lunch break, visiting every table, chatting with players and parents, having her picture taken with each girl or group who wanted one, letting everyone hold her Olympic medal and signing autographs until every girl had what she wanted and the room had emptied out.
She signed soccer cleats, goalkeeper gloves, shirts, headbands and posters. She even signed a banana. Check KidSports' Twitter account @KidSportWinnipeg -- program manager Christine Hoenisch tweeted a picture of this famous banana.
"Desiree is such a great role model, she's so talented, articulate and kind, and being a KidSport kid herself, she believes it's really important to give back," said Hoenisch, noting a date for next year's camp will be set depending on where Scott can fit it into her schedule.
"KidSport's mission is 'So all kids can play.' Costs can be so prohibitive for many families and sometimes it can define a child's life if they can get that opportunity. They can start learning about teamwork, co-operation and all the other great things that come with sport in addition to the benefits of being physically active."
Leah Johnson, a 10-year-old player with the Phoenix club, said she got to hold Scott's medal.
"It was cool to hold because it was heavy and I never got to hold one before," Leah said. "I liked meeting her (Scott), she's awesome, fun."
Samantha Stark, 11, said she'll remember what a great time she had at the camp with Scott.
"It was cool meeting her. She's really nice," said Samantha, who also plays for Phoenix.
Scott's story is inspirational -- she was 22 and in the final season of her five-year University of Manitoba career when the senior national team first came calling.
"My message to kids is always that hard work pays off and to always enjoy what they're doing, because if they're having fun, the work feels easier," said Scott, who will be joining Team Canada in Vancouver in the coming weeks to begin preparations for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup being hosted by six Canadian cities including Winnipeg.
"There was times when I wanted to quit, times when I didn't know if I'd make the team, because I'm not the most technical and not the fastest, but the coach will say I'm someone that works hard and that's gotten me through the ranks and to where I am today."
KidSport is a national not-for-profit organization that provides financial assistance for fees and equipment to children aged 18 and under through a confidential application process. In Winnipeg, Hoenisch said KidSport has provided $1.2 million in a decade of assistance to kids in sports programs.