U.S. teen excluded from Alberta soccer tournament
American citizen living in Calgary with her family not allowed to play in provincial match
An American family living in Calgary on a three-year work visa is trying to get the eligibility rules changed for Canadian soccer tournaments.
Because she’s American, 14-year-old Katherine Smith isn’t allowed to join her teammates as they compete in the provincial championships this weekend in Edmonton.
The country's soccer rules say you have to be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or protected person to compete in provincial or national tournaments.
The teen’s mother, Denise, wants the Canadian Soccer Association and its provincial counterpart to amend those rules.
"We have a social insurance card, we pay taxes," she said.
"They are kids, it's a youth tournament — you can play all season but you can't play in the final tournament?"
Richard Adams, the executive director of the Alberta Soccer Association, said the restriction was put in place to prevent abuses.
"This rule has actually been in our rulebook for close to 10 years because of teams basically hijacking tournaments and putting people into their teams that have only been in the country for a couple of months," he said.
"The obvious result is that it does impact people like this young lady."
Adams says he knows of five other cases like Katherine's. His association started a process to try and change the federal rules roughly eight months ago.
Katherine said she's resigned to cheering on her teammates from the benches.
"I'm still part of the team and I still want them to go to nationals even if I can't play," she said.