Soccer playing sisters enjoy sporting success side-by-side
For sisters Melody and Lylee Horn, the sweetest part of their success on the soccer pitch has been experiencing every high and every low together.
Best friends and teammates, at 18 and 17-years-old, the siblings from Chateauguay Quebec have been sidekicks throughout 13 years of practices, tournaments, and championship matches, and say they are each other’s inspiration.
“It’s been the best thing because in soccer your teammates are like family and it’s even deeper when you have a sibling there with you,” said Lylee who is the younger of the pair. “It’s always good to know there is someone that has your back, especially in the tough times.”
Among their championship achievements, they won a silver medal at the 2012 Jeux de Quebec Games, bronze at the 2014 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) in Regina, and both say the highlight of their sporting involvement so far has been travelling to Brazil in 2015 for the first ever World Indigenous Games where they finished at the top of the podium.
“It was incredible to see all the different Indigenous people from around the world,” said the 18-year-old Melody. “It was really eye-opening getting to interact with them, see their way of life and hear their stories. To come back from that with a gold medal was just crazy.”
Inspired by their friends at school, the girls began playing soccer in kindergarten and as the years progressed, their passion for the game only grew stronger.
“Soccer seemed to be the sport everyone was playing,” recalled Lylee. “I remember the day me and my sister came home from school at five and six-year-old and said, ‘Mom, dad, we want to play soccer just like everyone else.’
“As the years went by, other kids started finding other things they like, but soccer is something we just always enjoyed to do.”
With Indigenous roots in Kahnawake, Quebec the Horn sisters say the biggest barrier they have faced in their sporting careers has been sometimes having to deal with racism from other athletes.
“Me and my sister our whole lives have lived and competed off-reserve and are usually the only Indigenous people on the field,” said Melody. “There have been some occasions where other players have used vulgar racist words against us to try and make us feel we don’t belong.”
They say their parents who were also athletes growing up experienced similar challenges and have encouraged them to take a diplomatic approach in dealing with the conflict in hopes that their persistence and success on the field will help to dispel racial ignorance.
“I’ve been called a “savage” by players on opposing teams and one time, a team of my own,” said Lylee. “It used to get to me until I eventually learned to shake off the negative remarks a few people make, because it isn’t going to stop me from playing the game, or being proud of the races that are a part of me.”
Now playing for the Notre-Dame de Grâce Panthers Senior AA Division 1 team, Lylee graduated high school last year and will be going into a three-year career program, after which she hopes to attend university with her top choices being Syracuse, McGill or Concordia.
Melody who still plays on the same team as her sister gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Aeva last December. With the help of her very supportive boyfriend and family including new Aunt Lylee, she has been able raise her new bundle of joy while continuing to train and reach for her athletic dreams.
“My future goal in sport is to go as far as I can as an athlete and eventually get my daughter in the sport,” said the new mom. “My hope is that she’ll see how good of an athlete I am and be inspired to play sports. I’m going to teach her about the negativity she might go through to get to where she wants to be and hopefully she’ll become a great athlete one day.”
The sisters will be side-by-side once again this summer representing team Quebec at the Toronto 2017 NAIG.