Before you decide to play keep-ups with soccer player Ethan Fayant you better make sure you can get close to 1000, because he’s been practicing.
You will not find the 13-year-old playing video games after school but instead on the soccer pitch where he trains and competes up to six-days a week. He says he does it for the sheer love of the game.
“I enjoy the physical fitness and skill needed to play at a high level,” said the seventh grader. “My family supports and encourages me along the way.”
The left-winger was selected by the Canadian Academy of Futbol development league to attend an under-13 international showcase tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in April. Although his team didn’t finish in the medal count as Fayant had hoped, he says the experience made him a better athlete.
“Going to Dubai was a good opportunity for me,” said Fayant. “We had lots of fun and got to play against top-level teams from Spain and other countries. “Seeing how good the best players are helps to make you better.”
Of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation through his mothers, Fayant received a lot of support from his band, who helped to fund his trip to Dubai.
Though his family lives off-reserve in Brampton, Ontario, when Fayant has some time off from soccer he loves making the trip to Neyaashiinigmiing, ON to visit his grandparents especially in the summer.
“It’s just more peaceful there,” said Fayant. “Here [in Brampton] it’s more rushed. I enjoy relaxing, taking in the fresh air and swimming.”
Coming from an athletic family, Fayant who plays several other sports, will be following in his parents’ footsteps this summer as he competes at the Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG). Both his mother and his father who is Metis competed in volleyball at the 1995 Games in Minnesota. His mom and aunt played varsity as well, and he knows of other family members who have competed in sport on an elite level.
“My mother has shared stories of my great uncles getting asked to play professional soccer in Germany, and getting recruited to play for the Harlem Globe Trotters,” said Fayant. “My Family’s sport stories always stay with me. Now I can share my story.”
Since February 2016 the youngster has competed for the C.A. Q. Soccer Academy under the leadership of coach Carlos Armando Quiroga, who Fayant calls an “inspiration.”
“My coach inspires and pushes me to be the best player I can be,” said Fayant. “He has challenged me to give my all both on and off the field. I have improved my skill and game since I joined his team.”
The super disciplined A-student has had no problems balancing school with his busy soccer schedule. He dreams of one day playing for a top-level league in Europe but for now is ecstatic to be representing Indigenous youth as part of Team Ontario at the NAIG in July.
“I’m honoured to be on the boys under-16 team,” said Fayant. “I’m proud of where I come from and excited to represent my community.”