Urban Stein, from left, Andy Stein, Mees Geelkerken, Peter Hirschkorn, Danny Stein and Charlee Stein. (Lisa Mazurek/Morning Star).

Trio rate Stein scholarships

Three North Okanagan Youth Soccer Association players won George Stein Memorial scholarships

Every penny counts when you’re trying to get through university.

Three members of the North Okanagan Youth Soccer Association (NOYSA) will be using $500 George Stein Memorial Scholarships to help pay the bills next school year.

NOYSA has chosen Peter Hirschkorn, Mees Geelkerken and Jared Quibell as recipients of the Stein bursaries this year.

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.

“It’s nice just to carry on his legacy and keep his name alive,” said Danny Stein, George’s grandson. “I remember he was always doing stuff with us at soccer and hockey practice. He was very hands-on. We only knew him a short time but he made a big impact.”

Danny and his brother, Andy, both came through NOYSA and have played several years for North Enderby Timber in the men’s league. Their father, Marty, used to coach them.

“My dad (Rolf) knows Marty and this scholarship will help me pay for books and tuition and gas driving back and forth from Kelowna,” said Hirschkorn, a first-year sciences student at UBCO.

The Vernon-born Hirschkorn liked Li’l Kickers at first glance and progressed to Rep soccer, where he was a centre back with the U18s.

“It’s (soccer) always been my main sport,” said Peter, who turns 19 in March. “I put a lot of time in the (Whitecaps) academy so the game has been a big part of my life. My dad and I watch German soccer together; my favourite team is Hamburg.”

Peter also takes time to coach Special Olympics basketball once a week from September through March at Alexis Park Elementary. The 5-foot-10, 165-pounder also enjoys downhill skiing.

Geelkerken, whose father, Gerry, plays oldtimers soccer with Rolf Hirschkorn, was born in Holland and moved here at age four. He celebrates his 19th birthday next November.

The first-year engineering student at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops was a winger and attacking centre midfielder with the NOYSA U18s last season.

“This scholarship will help with my tuition and costs of residency,” said Geelkerken. “Soccer’s always been really big in my life. I’ve always played and coached and reffed. I stayed in shape reffing and made lots of spending money. I love being on a team.”

Geelkerken coaches the 4-6-year-old Soccer Patch kids in the outdoor season and guides the 8-13-year-olds in the winter.

A huge supporter of Ajax in the Netherlands, Mees also has a blast downhill skiing.

Quibell was vacationing in Hawaii over Christmas and unavailable for comment. The Grade 12 Seaton student was a star keeper with the Okanagan Valley champion Sonics this season.

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