May 23rd, 2024

Kodiaks remember Shoultsy

By Dale Woodard on December 14, 2021.

Going forward, this will be Haylie’s tournament. It will also be her scholarship.

Or if you ask her teammates, this one is for Shoultsy.

The Haylie Shoults Memorial Futsal Tournament took the floor Saturday at the Val Matteotti Gymnasium in memory of the former Lethbridge College Kodiak futsal and soccer player and product of Williams Lake, B.C. who passed away following a car accident late last month at the age of 30.

In the first of what will be an annual tournament in memory of the Kodiak whose fast feet created stunning goals that left her teammates in awe, Saturday’s memorial tournament also doubled as a fundraiser with the proceeds going towards the creation of a new women’s soccer scholarship in Shoults’ name.

An official name for the scholarship has yet to be determined, but as Shoults’ teammates took the courts for the six-hour tournament featuring competitive, semi-competitive and recreational teams, some of those players were more familiar with her nickname than her given name.

“We called her Shoultsy,” said Kodiak teammate Ailsa Fallows. “People kept on saying ‘Haylie’ and I was like ‘Who’s Haylie?’ It was always Shoultsy. I think this is the best way to honour her and her life because she loved playing futsal. She was at the Orion Centre every weekend and playing soccer all the time. If there’s one thing we can do to represent her and her life, this would be it. I think it’s really beautiful how many people are here who don’t even really know her and doing it for a good cause.”

On Saturday, each team paid $100 to participate with drop-in players paying $10.

“All the money is going into a scholarship fund for Haylie for the women’s team,” said Kodiaks soccer and futsal co-head coach Sean Carey.

“So we’ll carry on the legacy of Haylie now. Every year we’ll give away one scholarship and we can hopefully make this a yearly event. If we can keep her scholarship fund building, then maybe we can get two scholarships out of it.”

The scholarship will be given to out-of-province players, said Carey, with the first one awarded next fall.

“They don’t qualify for the Alberta scholarships we give to the Alberta athletes. So with Haylie being a B.C. player, every year we have girls and guys who are from out-of-province. So it’s hard for us to be able to give them any money sometimes. So this way it at least gives us an opportunity to give a little bit back to those players.”

Shoults played futsal for the Kodiaks in 2018 and 2019 and outdoor soccer in 2019-20.

She played futsal with the Kodiaks until 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Carey remembered Shoults as a fun-loving person.

“She tried to make everybody laugh. She was a senior player on the team because she was the oldest player we had. She gave her heart, every time. Every single game, every single practice she was just lights out.”

Carey recalled Kodiaks men’s soccer team veteran Ben Knight giving Shoults a glowing scouting report.

“He said ‘That’s the best striker I’ve ever seen at the college,”’ said Carey. “Just the way she could bring the ball down and play with it. She was very skilled.

“Off the field, she was just such a sweetheart. We’ve connected a lot with her family and friends back in Williams Lake in the last couple of weeks. I sent a picture to one of her good friends today of this (tournament) happening.”

Second-year Kodiak Olivia DePasquale noted the number of players who came out for Saturday’s memorial tournament who didn’t even play with Shoults.

“It just means a lot. We’ve had so many people come out because Haylie loved futsal and soccer, but futsal was her sport and just the fact we have so many people out there today putting in such an effort to be here and play the sport she loved, it just means so much for our program and Kodiaks in general.”

On the field, Shoults was a “firecracker”, said DePasquale.

“That girl was nowhere and everywhere at the same time. She was always hustling and was just an absolute danger for any opposing defence. She was an incredible striker and could put the ball on net with ease. She was an incredible teammate as well.”

Off the field, DePasquale described Shoults as a giving person.

“She had to work a lot throughout our season,” she said. “So she was incredibly hard-working on and off the field. She was there for anyone when they needed it. Just an all-around incredible person.”

Fallows said Shoults’ game surprised a few people.

“I remember the first time I played with her, by looking at her I wouldn’t think ‘Oh my God, she’s going to be this amazing player,’ and she really surprised everyone, I think,” she said. “Every game we had she brought it all. I think she surprised the other team the most. She would always come out of nowhere and just have the craziest footwork and scored beautiful, beautiful goals. She was definitely amazing. She’ll missed on the team, absolutely.”

On Nov. 27 the Williams Lake Soccer community gathered for the Haylie Shoults Memorial Fundraiser and on Saturday her Celebration of Life was held by invitation only due to COVID restrictions, but was also attended via Zoom.

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