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Macleod players get their kicks at Alberta Summer Games

Two Fort Macleod soccer players had the chance last month to compete against some of Alberta’s best players.

Lexi Beer and Adalyn Nelson were part of the Zone 1 U14 girls soccer team that competed in the Alberta Summer Games at Okotoks.

“The Alberta Summer Games were a great experience for me,” said Lexi, who is going into Grade 8 next fall at F.P. Walshe school. “It allowed me to step out of my comfort zone, play with people I didn’t know, meet new people, make lots of new friends, and it helped me grow as an athlete overall.”

Adalyn, who is also entering Grade 8 at F.P. Walshe school, enjoyed the experience of sleeping in a make-shift dormitory in an elementary school and hanging out with her teammates and playing games and watching movies in their free time.

The team received catered meals and snacks at a recreation centre, and came home with summer games swag including backpacks, water bottles, T-shirts, shorts, socks and jerseys.

Both girls have been involved in the sport for close to a decade — Lexi since she was four and Adalyn since she was three — but the soccer pitch is not the only place they get their kicks.

The five foot four, 116-pound Lexi is a multi-sport athlete, competing in volleyball, rugby, softball and track and field at F.P. Walshe school.

Lexi Beer (left) and Adalyn Nelson of Fort Macleod played for the Sunny South Zone 1 U14 girls soccer team at the Alberta Summer Games in Okotoks.

Adalyn, who is five foot one and 93 pounds, also plays multiple sports at F.P. Walshe school. She competed in basketball, volleyball, badminton, track and field, rugby and softball.

The 13-year-old Adalyn played club soccer this season for Fort Macleod in the Coulee Kickers Soccer Association.

Adalyn was inspired to try out for the Alberta Summer Games team when she learned the Southern Alberta Summer Games had been cancelled.

“They weren’t having the Southern Alberta Summer Games this year that I normally participate in, so when I heard about the Alberta Summer Games I was excited for the opportunity,” Adalyn said.

Lexi played for the Lethbridge Football Club U13 girls team this season and saw the Alberta Summer Games as a new challenge.

“I thought it would be a great opportunity and an amazing experience,” 12-year-old Lexi said.

The Zone 1 team was made up of players from Medicine Hat, Lethbridge and Fort Macleod.

Lexi knew some of the girls on the Alberta Summer Games team from her club team. For Adalyn, Lexi was her only friend when tryouts started.

The lack of familiarity with all the players was quickly overcome as the team trained together and played some exhibition matches.

“Even though we didn’t know each other we bonded fast and quickly became comfortable playing together,” Lexi said.

Both Fort Macleod girls said they had to step up their game when the Alberta Summer Games started.

“It was definitely tougher competition because we were up against some of the best teams and players in all of Alberta.” Adalyn said.

Adalyn Nelson moves the ball upfield against Zone 8 Peace Country in round-robin play at the Alberta Summer Games.

Lexi agreed. “It was definitely more of a challenge and some of the teams were very hard to play.”

Adalyn plays forward striker, attacking midfield, and winger, while Lexi plays striker and winger.

The Sunny South Zone 1 team lost to Zone 3 Calgary and Zone 2 Big Country before beating Zone 8 Peace Country in round-robin play.

Their 2-1 record put the Zone 1 team in the consolation final, which they lost to Zone 6 Parkland.

Although they didn’t come home with a medal, both players said they were better for the experience of the Alberta Summer Games.

“The games motivated me to train harder in my sport and become a stronger competitor as I go forward in school sports and sports within the community,” Adalyn said.

Lexi said after playing in the Alberta Summer Games she is motivated to look for more opportunities to compete at a higher level, and step out of her comfort zone.

“Alberta Summer Games are a great way to meet people from all over Alberta,” Lexi added. “I highly recommend trying for this amazing opportunity that I got. It is a once in a lifetime experience.”

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