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HomeSportsSoccerHalifax soccer player heading to Special Olympics World Games in Berlin

Halifax soccer player heading to Special Olympics World Games in Berlin

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Halifax athlete Ashley Thomas is heading to Berlin later this month as part of Canada’s first Special Olympics all-women’s soccer team.

The midfielder is one of 89 Team Canada athletes gathering in Toronto this weekend before going to Germany.

She spoke to CBC Radio’s Information Morning Nova Scotia about her love of soccer and how she is preparing for the event.

The Special Olympics World Games take place from June 17-25.

Information Morning – NS8:06Athlete on Canada’s first all-women’s soccer team to play Special Olympics World Games

Meet Halifax soccer player Ashley Thomas, who is heading to Berlin, Germany, for the first Special Olympics World Games since 2019. She’s a member of Team Canada’s first all-women’s soccer team.

This is a pretty big deal. How excited are you?

I’m really excited, especially after I got my haircut. Now I’m really excited because now I’m ready completely.

How much training and hard work have you been doing leading up to this?

A lot of training. I train every day I can. Whether it’s on the field or off the field, like practising breathing to help me mentally if I get too anxious to calm me down a little bit.

Since you’re in Nova Scotia and your other teammates are elsewhere, how do you train with them?

Every first and third Tuesday of every month we were on Zoom doing a workout.

For me it was at 9 p.m., so I had to make it work.

What do you do?

We just do a little workout, one of the coaches has something planned.

Sometimes it’s doing stuff with the ball, sometimes it’s just doing squats, push-ups, sit-ups, whatever that coach had planned.

Is this going to be the first time you’re meeting up with some of your teammates in person?

We had the training camp in Toronto in November and then one in April that was in B.C., so we met up two different times.

I have my local team here because I play for the Sackville Bedford Bravehearts.

How long have you been playing soccer?

I joined Special Olympics in 2012 but I’ve been playing ever since I could remember.

Even when I was a kid in the backyard, just playing with a bunch of friends and my brothers, we just play around with the soccer ball out back.

A soccer player in a red Team Canada uniform runs on a field with a soccer net in the background.
Thomas is shown at a Team Canada training camp in April. (Special Olympics Canada)

What’s your favourite thing about playing soccer?

I think just the way the ball feels at my feet.

It’s just really instinctual for me. I get the ball at my feet and I don’t really have to think, I just go.

I make sure like, OK, my teammates on to the right of me so I know I have that option if I get stuck in the pass.

What has this done for your confidence? Maybe your abilities in other areas of life to make this team and to get to this level of soccer?

I feel like I’m way more confident since I’ve joined.

It could be all the mental training I’ve done. That’s also helped. I feel I’m a lot more social.

Are you bringing anyone special to Berlin with you? Maybe a cheerleader?

My brothers and my mom and my dad will be there watching.

I also have my team back home, they gave me a picture of the team. So I know they’re watching me from back home

Having my mom, my brothers and my dad in the stands watching, it’s just going to be cool.

What are you looking forward to about just taking this big overseas trip?

I think just my first time going overseas, going to another country. [I plan to] experience and take in as much as I can.

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