Lions women’s soccer team joins forces with Special Olympics

The York Lions women’s soccer team will team up with Special Olympics Ontario at a soccer tournament on Thursday, April 17, from 10am to 2pm, at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan.

The reigning Ontario University Athletics champion and Canadian Interuniversity Sport runner-up Lions will referee the games and lead drills and stretches for the six teams of youth-aged Special Olympians.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to give something back to the community and this is a lovely event,” said Lions master soccer coach Paul James, who will join fellow members of the coaching staff and the rest of the team at the event. “We’re delighted to be involved.”

In another public event, the soccer Lions and the York University Sport Administration Association played host to 92 boys and girls teams last month at the 25th annual York University Showcase at The Hangar in Downsview Park.

The Lions raised $15,000 at the tournament, which ran over two weekends. Toronto’s Dante Alighieri High School emerged victorious on the boys’ side, while King City, Ont.’s Villanova College took the girls’ title.

Both winning teams received tickets for a Toronto FC Major League Soccer game at BMO Field.

“It’s a huge event for us and it gives us a terrific profile,” James said. “It’s also a great recruiting tool. If you look at coaches, parents and players, there are over 2,000 people involved. The coaches and players thoroughly enjoyed the event, as evidenced by the retention level, which is extremely high.”