FCV Academy midfielder Clinton returns from Canada Games
FCV Academy player Cole Clinton recently took part in the Canada Games after being called up to Northwest Territories’ football team.
The Canada Games sees some of the top-prospect athletes from a variety of sports compete in a two-week event exclusive to Canada. For many participants it is the step before representing the country at an Olympics.
Clinton played every minute of every match for NWT at the Games, including against tournament favourites Ontario, and was able to take a lot of memories and learning points back to FCV Academy on his return to England.
“Canada is less populated in the north and the Northwest Territories has 40,000 people,” he said. “The smallest province we played had 500,000 people, so it’s a big difference in terms of population and we knew we would play some excellent teams.
“We played our group games against first seeds Ontario and second seeds Saskatchewan, and then we played the other teams who finished in the same position in their groups, so against teams closer to our level.
“When we played Saskatchewan, we played defensively and had a counter attack and scored. It was crazy because NWT in the history of Canada Games has only scored one goal, and now two goals, so finding the net is a big deal.
“We lost our four games but for a small territory we did extremely well, and there were lots of learning experiences like how important it is to be close with all the guys on the team and having a connection.
“Within that [NWT] team there were guys I’d been playing with since I was six years old so I know all of them really well, but if you can build that connection with everybody on all your teams then it makes it so much easier to play.”
Clinton started playing at four years old in his home city of Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories in Canada, spending several years learning from his father who is also a football coach.
Aged 14 he was scouted for a move to Saskatchewan, before making a solo trip to Vancouver where he played in an affiliate programme to Major League Soccer side Vancouver Whitecaps.
Two years later Clinton joined FCV Academy, which developed both his physical ability and mental awareness when on the field.
“I’ve taken so much away from playing here as it’s a completely different game compared to Canada – the pace of the game, how good your first touch has to be, how fast you have to play.
“That showed at the Games because I was able to play faster than a lot of the guys in my team and in the opposition, which gives you an advantage in football.
“It was so much fun, not only the football but when you’re at the residential areas there is lots of pin badge and clothing trading going on. I’m not a huge pin trader, but I got a nice jacket from Nova Scotia which I’m keeping back in Yellowknife.
“A lot of my mum’s family live in Niagara in Ontario [the hosting region of the Games] so I had lots of support watching the matches which added to the experience. We also had a team field trip to Niagara Falls.”
Clinton now has one year left at FCV Academy and is planning for life in 2023 and beyond.
“The goal has always been to play professionally and after this year that’s what I am going to try to do.
“I know that’s a difficult thing to achieve, so I have backups for university places both here and in Canada if I want to. I have to keep putting the effort in and everything will work out.”