Hiawatha First Nation boy to play on Team Canada in youth super bowl
Nate Thomson will head to Florida this winter to play in the Pop Warner International Youth Super Bowl
An Anishinaabe boy from a small Ontario First Nation will compete in a youth football tournament in Florida this December.
At 14, Nate Thomson is already six feet two inches tall, towering over his two brothers, Nick and Noah, and his mother Loni Cowie. They all live in Hiawatha First Nation, 150 km northeast of Toronto.
Last week he received the news that he had earned a spot on Team Canada for the Pop Warner International Youth Super Bowl.
"Not many Indigenous players get this chance so it just feels amazing," said Nate.
He said he's the only Indigenous player to make Team Canada, and was the only one in his round of tryouts.
"I like football because it give me adrenaline and gives me that power," Nate said.
"Going up against other teams that have better athletes than me, it's a pretty good challenge."
Global Football and Pop Warner have partnered since 2010 to hold the International Youth Super Bowl event. Teams from places like Mexico, Panama, Finland and the United Arab Emirates have competed in the past.
Nate was five when he began watching his older brother Noah play football.
"As the years progressed and he started getting closer to eight years old, he just couldn't wait to play either," said Cowie.
Nate plays for the Peterborough Wolverines. The family wasn't aware of the super bowl tournament until after one of Nate's games, when he was handed an invitation to try out by one of the head coaches.
The tryouts took place at the end of July in Toronto and the top five per cent of players from each round made the team. There were five rounds of tryouts.
Nate made it onto the team in the first round.
"I was expecting to come back to another tryout," he said.
He said it was amazing to be at the tryouts, but a lot of work. Work is key to making the most of any opportunities, he said.
"Work hard and have that mental mindset, that's all."
His siblings are ecstatic that their brother made the team.
"Noah keeps coming into my room like 'Oh my god you made Team Canada!' and Nick's like 'We're going to Florida!'" Nate said.
Cowie said she is proud her son made the team and will be representing her family and the small community of Hiawatha First Nation.
"It's just amazing," she said.
The tournament takes place the first week of December and the siblings will be there cheering on their brother, along with cousins, aunts and uncles who will all make the trip down.