They play and think soccer 24-7 while applying serious time to their studies.
For this, four graduates of the North Okanagan Youth Soccer Association have earned $500 George Stein Memorial Scholarships.
Marty Stein made the cheque presentations in honour of his father, outside the VantageOne Indoor Facility.
“We always look for young people who love and respect the game,” said Stein, a retired player who referees adult leagues. “We are honoured to help them with their post-secondary education anyway we can.”
Marissa Berg, who turned 18 on Aug. 14, started the game locally at age six. A centre midfielder/fullback, she played Rep until last year and plans to play in the Vernon women’s league next season.
“I’m going to Okanagan College this fall to study sciences and hopefully get a medical degree,” said Berg, who has reffed youth soccer the past few years.
A setter with the volleyball Fulton Maroons, Berg works full-time at Pet Planet.
Noah Varley came up through the Li’l Kickers program and progressed to Rep and Y League in the last few years.
A defender who turns 18 in October, Varley played in the men’s league for the Davidson Dynamite last season.
“I’m going to UVic for engineering the next five years,” said Varley, a Seaton grad.
Kira Lee, a Seaton grad who celebrates her 18th birthday Aug. 26, is a defender who played Rep and Y League before making the PCSL Premier Okanagan Whitecaps.
“I’m teaching Asians English this summer and then I’m going to the University of Calgary for business and languages,” said Lee, who will play soccer for the Dinosaurs on a scholarship.
Wardan Vanderveen moved to Vernon four years ago from Saskatoon and played defence in the U18 House league this season while also playing football for the Kalamalka Lakers.
Vanderveen, who will be 18 in October, is an official in the men’s league, serving as a referee and linesman.
“I’m going to UBCO in Kelowna for arts and creative writing,” said Vanderveen.
George Stein, who died in 1996, helped found youth soccer in Vernon some 50 years ago. He and the late Fred Mann were key cogs in the construction of the MacDonald Park clubhouse.