Cornwall youth experience a unique Labbé training

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Excitement was in the air when Canadian gold medalist goaltender Stéphanie Labbé mentored local youth during a soccer workshop at the Benson Center on Tuesday evening.

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Labbé taught a group of children aged 8 to 12 agility and footwork drills before participating and training them in smaller games against each other. His stop in Cornwall is part of a national tour of workshops that Labbé organizes to inspire and advise young soccer players.

“There’s really nothing better than meeting your idols in person, one-on-one, being able to talk to them, listen to them, hear their stories and their journeys,” Labbé said.

Ten randomly selected participants had the opportunity to take a penalty shot against Labbé. She blocked all but one shot.

Participants celebrate the end of Stephanie Labbé’s stop in Cornwall during her national tour on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 in Cornwall, Ontario. Laura Dalton/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network Photo by Laura Dalton /Laura Daltonl/Standard-Freeholder

Labbé said these workshops take her back to her roots and that engaging with children is a way for her to instill a love of play while teaching the basics and motivating them. She said she wanted to be an inspiration and fuel the dreams of young players, as many of them watched her and her matches on TV.

This is the first time an Olympic gold medalist has visited Cornwall in this capacity, said Sean Campbell, head coach and owner of Elite Development Cornwall soccer club, which organized and hosted the event.

Campbell said the event was aimed at children with the goal of creating a culture that fosters community football events that create a sense of belonging.

“[It’s about] bring everyone together and make sure we build a culture where everyone has a place in sport,” he said.

At the end of the workshop, Labbé wowed the group with an inspirational talk about her career and how she dealt with being repeatedly pushed aside by coaches and moved on to other goalkeepers. goal during his soccer years.

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“No matter what, believe in yourself,” she told the group.

Stephanie Labbé's coaches train participants at a stop in Cornwall on her national tour.  Left to right: Ainsley Ladouceur, 8, Stephanie Labbé, Jersey Martineau, 8 on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 in Cornwall, Ont.  Laura Dalton/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network
Stephanie Labbé’s coaches train participants at a stop in Cornwall on her national tour. Left to right: Ainsley Ladouceur, 8, Stephanie Labbé, Jersey Martineau, 8 on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 in Cornwall, Ont. Laura Dalton/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network Photo by Laura Dalton /Laura Daltonl/Standard-Freeholder

She talked about getting serious about football at the age of 12 when she started playing as a goalkeeper. Labbé addressed the group with the constant perseverance that she forced herself to maintain in order to maintain her dynamism and her love of soccer. She said she refused to give her coaches the excuse not to play her because she wasn’t working hard enough, adding that she was committed to being the team’s best player by constantly raising her teammates, having a very strong work ethic and believing in herself even if no one else has.

“The only person who was going to believe in me was going to be me,” she said, “All that mattered was that I believed in myself and could achieve whatever I wanted to achieve.”

At the end of the workshop, all participants took photos of Labbé holding his bronze medal from the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics and his gold medal from the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, both won with the Canadian women’s soccer team.

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