(Originally Published in the 2006 Can-Am Program)

Support Al's Soccer Dream

In October, the Cataraqui Soccer Club lost a good friend and the community lost a great champion of soccer.

In just 41 years Alan Francis made such a mark on his hometown of Napanee (15,000 people, 30 km west of Kingston) that the community has rallied to make one of his dreams come true.

Al loved coaching kids and appreciated the small things - in his eyes good positional play was the key to great teamwork.  The winning would follow if this was done right.  He was always encouraging.  Napanee's Mr. Soccer was known to call up youths on opposing teams after a hard fought game to compliment them on their skills and attitude.

Al also enjoyed the CAN-AM tournament and valued the "Friendship" part of the game.  Last year his wife, Lori, and three boys, Matthew (then 13), Nicholas (11) and Jacob (9), joined us in Allentown (inset photos taken during that trip).  It is through events like this that incredible camaraderie is created with teammates and their families.  Upon this loss came an immediate desire to help a member of our family and at our Hallowe'en Dance we raised $1,750 for them.

Al was instrumental in developing a youth rep team system in Napanee so local players could play with the best in the region.  He persuaded Council to install lights on the Town's newest pitch.  As President in 2003, Al helped to raise $17,000 from the sale of Avril Lavigne t-shirts after the superstar wore her Napanee Minor Soccer Club jersey on Saturday Night Live.

But knowing no bounds, Al's latest goal was to establish an indoor soccer facility in Napanee's former hockey rink so local players could improve their game all year long.  Al's passing did not mark the end of his dream.  In fact, in just five months, the outcry of support and the raising of money have made it happen.

Support Al's dream and purchase a red/white bracelet that will be on sale throughout the weekend.  Your $4 donation will go towards equipment and turf at Napanee's new Alan Francis Indoor Soccer Field.

Paul Blais
Cataraqui Soccer Club