Just like Rankin Inlet has gold in its ground, the population has soccer skills. But to get the gold out, and to take those skills to the next level, the right development is necessary.
That’s how soccer coach Geraldo Ferrari Jr. put it when he was in Rankin Inlet running a week-long soccer clinic late April.
“I was really surprised with the level of the players,” said Ferrari Jr. as the camp wrapped up Saturday, April 28. “Of course they have some skills, but they don’t know yet how to play the game.”
Originally from Brazil, where soccer is in his blood, Ferrari Jr. has been living in Canada for the last 15 years and been involved in professional, high-level soccer the whole time, including coaching the national futsal Canadian team in 2012.
He met Kris Okpatauyak, who played on the Nunavut men’s futsal team, at the nationals in Calgary this spring. With funding from the Nunavut Soccer Association, Okpatauyak invited Ferrari Jr. up for the camp.
“To take it to the next level, we’re going to need to learn how to play a system,” instead of just running toward the net with the ball, said Okpatauyak.
Ferrari Jr. said young players in Rankin Inlet have equivalent soccer skills to other provinces, with the difference being that they don’t yet know how to play as a team. The most important thing at a young age, he said, is simply for the youth to kick the ball as much as possible.
“When they have the passion, when they want to touch the ball every single day, I think it will be the best development for the community,” he said. “And remember, if the kids kick the ball, that means they don’t do anything wrong on the streets.”
Okpatauyak hopes to bring Ferrari Jr. back next year ahead of soccer tournaments to boost the training Kivalliq players get.
“We’re going to go bigger and better next year,” he said. “We’re going to build from this.”
Ferrari Jr. added that he enjoyed his time in Rankin Inlet, especially getting a chance to see some of the snowmobile races during the Kivalliq Snow Challenge.