Twin brothers from Penelakut Island have returned back home after capturing soccer gold at the North American Indigenous Games in Ontario last month.
Shane and Brent Brown, both recent graduates from Chemainus Secondary School, were part of the U19 British Columbia team that beat out rivals Saskatchewan 1-0 in overtime during the July 21 final.
“It was an intense game that we had to fight through really hard,” said Shane.
The Games were hosted by Toronto but the soccer, which included provincial teams from across the country, was just outside the city at McMaster University in Hamilton.
Team BC went undefeated in the tournament, also defeating the eventual bronze medallist Manitoba 1-0 to reach the final.
Shane and Brent were selected to play on Team BC following all-star performances at a qualifying tournament last summer.
Fraser Valley won that tournament and decided to pick the brothers, who play mid-field, and another friend from Port Hardy to join their squad representing BC.
“They became like our brothers and I’ll always remember that,” Shane said. “We pretty much played full games and were a big impact to the team.”
Brent and Shane, who just celebrated their 18th birthday, also play for the U21 Mid-Isle Mariners out of Ladysmith.
Dad, Patrick Brown said he was proud of his sons’ achievements.
“Ever since they could walk they were kicking a soccer ball around,” he said. “They encourage each other to work hard.”
Patrick played Division 2 in the Vancouver Island Soccer League while the boys uncle and grandfather were both Division 1.
“They come from a soccer family,” Patrick said.
The Games also provided the brothers with an opportunity to meet other young soccer talents.
“The field was right beside our dorm so we’d go watch the younger guys and girls to support them,” Shane said, adding how B.C. as a whole captured a record 176 medals to win the overall team title.
Training with the Mariners resumes soon and the brothers are also hoping to join their new Fraser Valley friends at future tournaments.
Patrick said his sons’ “determination and love for the game” has made them successful.
“It’s their passion,” he said. “Whenever they get free time they have a soccer ball at their feet.”