“I love this program because they are learning skills, working in collaboration, staying fit and enjoying soccer – a new sport for many of them. I am really grateful and thankful that we have this program at our school once a week. Traditionally this is the boy’s kind of turf and it’s really awesome for them to have the whole field for themselves at lunchtime. Then what will happen is that they will start to claim part of that field for themselves and they will divide the field boys and girls. Pretty soon they will be playing together. So it is an awesome program. What happens for me is when they are coming in, they are excited, they are happy, they are energized. That for me sets a really good foundation for learning in the afternoon instead of walking and talking, they are outside using their bodies and their minds which is a wonderful experience for them.”

Former Principal Krystyna Niziolek – Hastings Elementary

“I don’t normally play soccer but I like to go out and try to model learning soccer. So many of our students and particularly our girl refugee students have never had the opportunity to play organized sports when they are from their country of origin. This gives us a time to bond, to have fun, to learn a great sport for life they can play pick-up in the school yard and they can go on in high school. Its great to have them trying new things and create new friendships in a different way – not to mention learning vocabulary. Language is limited, and learning customs is difficult and being afraid to make a mistake. On the soccer field we are all learning language – especially when I am there – where are we going, what are we doing? It’s a great way to make relationships with each other and with me and other staff members who help out. And learning different concepts. It’s a wonderful way, learning happens all the time and I think this has life long implications that sports for girls is important.”

Former Principal Dorothy Watkins – Seymour Elementary School

“Its so fun, we really enjoyed it – lots of people. I see all my friends playing soccer and they don’t usually like to play soccer. And they really enjoyed it even if they aren’t really good at it. It’s a really good program for that. And its just really fun and if parents can’t afford to put you in a league or something then you can just do this. It’s a great community program and I think lots of parents and kids really enjoy it.”

“Usually the boys don’t let us play so we will start our own game with our friends. They usually take the balls from us and tell us we are not good enough to play with them but now we can play our own game by ourselves with our friends.”

Two players after a session.

I want to pass along that after you came to visit our daughter’s school, you made a big impact on her. She talked to you practically every night. She still brings this up to this day. It s something that stayed with her .. especially being a female athlete. I just want to pass that on. It resonated. She’s now playing more soccer. She is now going into house league, she’s now on two teams. She loves it. She plays four days a week maybe and her best friend as well. She is so excited about what you brought to the school.

Thank you for this program, it has been fantastic. It has given our daughter a new passion for soccer that she didn’t have before. When she was little, she did play soccer but she would roll around on the ground and pick flowers and not pay attention to the game. Since she started playing this year, she has showed an interest in playing with her sibling and being engaged in the game so we are very appreciative for it. She gets up every morning and wants to play. I think she is disappointed that its over but there will be another time.


I love soccer its one of my favourite sports. I joined the Equal Play program last year and I just loved it.

This year, I am having so much fun. Because its only girls and the boys think girls cant play soccer. They think that they are the only ones who can play soccer. But that’s not true. Girls can play soccer too. That’s why I love soccer.

Fleming Participant

“I am so pleased that Equal Play has been able to adapt to our Covid-19 concerns and protocols. Once a week, soccer balls and cones are put out in the field which is a designated cohort area. The music is roaring and if boys and girls aren’t running with the soccer balls, they are dancing. It brings a real festive atmosphere to a sometimes dreary day. The program director sets up but does not interact with the students out of the field. The bell rings to signal lunch is over, and equipment is picked up and removed from the school. It has been a great activity for our primary students but it could work for other age groups. I highly recommend it.”

Dorothy Watkins
Former Principal Shaughnessy Elementary School

In the two weeks that Carrie came to our school, most mornings started with a student asking if the soccer balls were going to be on the field at lunchtime. Having the soccer balls out increased physical activity, shared enjoyment, and active engagement with others. It was wonderful to see students kicking the balls around, developing confidence in their physical abilities and smiling. There was a sense of fun, which was helped by the upbeat music the program played. We can’t wait till she comes back!

Cathy Thomas
Principal, Simon Fraser Elementary School

Carrie’s enthusiasm around kids and soccer is greatly appreciated at Emily Carr. When Carrie dropped off a big bag of balls for free play at lunch time, I saw many kids playing, either with friends or by themselves. There are always a few kids on the edges of games, maybe a little shy to join in, so this was a great way for them to have a chance to kick a ball around and get the feel of it. Carrie also left me some soccer balls to share in whatever way works best for the school.

Thank you!

Erin Gibbs
Principal, Emily Carr Elementary School

When Carrie was on the field with the kids they were engaged and participated with positivity. The program helped girls who were feeling shy to participate during lunch hours. It gave them an opportunity to have a time where they could learn some skills and have a chance to put their foot on the ball and play. The current Covid plan is fantastic for the kids. I heard one of them exclaim today in-fact that “that was so fun to have so many balls on the field!”

Over all, I think the program is great as it is fun and gives kids a chance to play soccer when they may not otherwise feel comfortable doing so.

Taz Ismail
Teacher, Tyee Elementary School

Equal Play Leadership Girls Soccer Program Quick Interviews