Football camp bolsters opportunities

It’ll be all football, all the time in Red Deer this weekend.

Tim Burris, the man who calls the shots on the defensive side of the ball for the Red Deer Buccaneers, is also the driving force behind a program called Iron Will Football.

I had the chance to sit down with Burris recently, and found him to be a very engaging fellow.

This is a guy who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to football. His group will be hosting a football camp in Red Deer this weekend, with the aim being to show local kids that there is a path in football for them after high school.

Despite the outstanding work done by the Central Alberta Minor Football Association in growing the game at the grassroots level, our area is still hurt by the lack of a junior football program.

If kids from Central Alberta want to play football after high school, they either have to go to Edmonton or Calgary or beyond to continue their careers, whether it’s at the junior or university level.

The problem is a lot of kids don’t know how to get to that level from here.

That’s where Burris and Iron Will Football come in.

Burris wants kids to know how to get on that path that will allow them to stay on the gridiron for as long as they can.

“A lot of times, kids will play football in high school, and then when they graduate, that’s it,” said Burris, who won a Vanier Cup (Canadian University football championship) as a member of the St. Mary’s Huskies.

“What we want to do is show them that high school football is not the end of the road. Central Alberta has so much football talent, and we don’t want to waste it. Look at kids like Logan Sabourin or Stas McPhail. Those two have the chance to play football well beyond grade 12.”

Both Sabourin and McPhail are stand outs in the Red Deer high school football scene, and both played this spring for the Battle River Shock, a midget Tier one team that just missed out on the Capital District Minor Football Association championship, falling to Edmonton in the final.

“We want to help them access some of the resources that are out there,” said Burris of the upcoming camp.

“We can help them put together highlight reels. We can get them in touch with junior and university coaches, coaches they might otherwise not have access to. We actually held a camp in Rocky Mountain House in June and the response was outstanding. A lot of the kids that took in that camp came away with a better sense of how they can continue on in football. We’ll definitely be holding another camp there soon.”

The camp, which will include sessions with offensive lineman Tim O’Neal of the Calgary Stampeders and former University of Calgary quarterback Erik Glavic, a two time winner of the Hec Creighton award as the most outstanding Canadian university football player, starts Saturday and Burris says they’ll take registrations right up until the first drill.

For more information on the camp, check out

On another note, I just wanted to extend my congratulations to the Red Deer Renegades Under 13 girls soccer team.

Both the boys and girls U13 teams recently took part in the Disney Cup International Youth Soccer tournament in Florida.

The girls opened the tournament with three straight wins, and earned a spot in the final, where they downed a team from Illinois 1-0 to win the title.

It’s always nice to see a local team representing Central Alberta on the international stage, and it’s even better when they come away as the top team in the tournament.

Unfortunately, the boys didn’t make it to the final, but they still showed well and can hold their heads high, knowing they can compete on the pitch with the rest of the world.