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Red Deer Renegades
City/Town:Red Deer, AB
Coach:Wade Gronenewegen

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Team Bio

You would think a team from Central Alberta would be made up of a group of athletes from families born and raised in Red Deer and surrounding areas. Wrong. Try Rwanda, Southern Sudan,Philippines, Ukraine, Colombia, El Salvador. We are the United Nations team of the Renegades Soccer Club. And what a team we have.
We compete in probably the toughest league in the country. We are by far the underdog.But these boys have so much passion and commitment to the game. They never give up. They get most of this enthusiasm from their coach who in rain or shine shows up (usually giving a ride to 5 or 6 kids) and works them hard. There's handshakes after practice showing RESPECT to every player and coach on the team.
The pride these boys have wearing the teams jerseys and tracksuits is evident. Being part of a team is more than practising and playing - its a life skill that shows people how we can all work together no matter what our background.
Our team of boys have certainly experienced defeat. Which makes winning oh-so-sweet!! Last summer our group of 'renegades' defeated the top placed team in the league in Provincials. We may as well have won the World Cup! In that game our keeper had to go to hospital with an injury sustained during the game. The boys went back on to the pitch after half time and won the game for him!
The boys wouldn't be at practice or at games if it wasn't for the parents. And not everybody in Central Alberta is working in the oil industry. Financial hardship can be hard to explain to an 11 year old, and that's how the team and community come together. Extra bottle drives so that money can be raised for unpaid fees. Going door-to-door in rain and snow for a couple of cans so that one of our team members can play or go to a tournament.
Some of the parents of our boys still have strong ties to their home countries and with the help of our coach (who is also some of the boys Math, Science, Home Room and Phys Ed teacher!), we have managed to send care packages back. And what would a care package from a soccer team be without jerseys, soccer balls and cleats that no longer fit our guys!
Soccer in Red Deer is growing. Our guys started playing (those who lived here) at 4 years old. By 8, most of the team had been formed. These core group of players have been together for almost 5 years (that's nearly 10 seasons!)
Imagen if no one had bothered to start a soccer club in Red Deer. Or if adults didn't volunteer their time to coach, I wouldn't be able to write about this today. Winning this competition would be like winning the World Cup (again!) for our players and our community.
'A child does not grow up only in a single home' is an African proverb. 'Its upbringing belongs to the community.'

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