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Meet Lylee Horn, an indigenous soccer player finding focus and unity through the game

The North American Indigenous Games is the largest continental sporting and cultural gathering of Indigenous people. This year from July 16 – 23rd, Toronto will host more than 5,000 athletes, 2,000 volunteers and a countless number of spectators and dignitaries from across North America. In celebration of the thousands of Indigenous women representing Canada on the ice, court, and field, we’re profiling a few young athletes who are proving what Canada’s Indigenous young women are capable of. Meet Lylee Horn, a young soccer player who, much like her older sister, Melody, is ready to hit the field at the Games and show the country what she is capable of.

 

 


 

 

My chosen sport is… Soccer. It’s always been and always will be my number one passion. It taught me many values like modesty, determination, discipline and respect, which have helped mould me into the person I am today.

 

I decided to pursue athletics because… Sports keep me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually well. Whenever I’m on the field, I don’t think about anything else but that moment. Just like my family, sports have always been there for me when I’m going through a rough time.

 

My proudest accomplishment is… Winning gold in Palmas, Brazil at the first ever World Indigenous games in 2015. What made it extra special was being able to share that proud moment side by side with my sister.

 

Participating in the NAIG is important to me because… It creates unity for Indigenous athletes coming from all across North America, as well as providing the opportunity to not only connect, but also showcase our skills in the sports we’ve been working hard training for.

 

I surprise people when I tell them… About my secret box of snacks under my bed. It’s a medium sized box that passes as a makeup box so I can ensure the protection of my snacks. It’s where I keep all my candy and chocolate bars so I can quietly pig out in the middle of the night without leaving my room and waking anyone up. What really surprises people is the part where I have a little hand-made “snacktionary” which is basically a snack dictionary with all the snacks that I have in alphabetical order and categorized by type of snack.

 

My best advice from a coach was… “Focus on your own game”. That really stuck with me throughout the years because I have faced players who will do or say whatever to get you off of your game, but the most important thing is to stay level headed and remember to focus on your own game because in the end, the best revenge is the score on the scoreboard.

 

My biggest setback was… Getting bullied out of high school my senior year. It was a very emotionally tough time that affected me greatly.

 

I overcame it by… Taking all of the negativity from that experience and channeling it into my soccer performance to try and turn it into something useful and beneficial. Just being out on the field whenever times are tough is a nice way to not just escape, but release stress and worries about problems.

 

I stay focused by… The continuous support of my family, as well as keeping my goal of wanting to make it to the Olympics in mind.

 

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… That I’m obsessed with board games. Mainly Monopoly and Scrabble, but I pretty much love all board games. I find myself playing them on my phone more though because not really anyone I know wants to sit down and have an old-fashioned game anymore.

 

I stay inspired by… The continuous love and support of family and friends. Nothing helps me stay inspired and motivated like the power of positivity from loved ones.

 

The future excites me because… Anything can happen. I’ve been trying my best not just on the field but off as well. I’ve been trying to be the best daughter, sister, auntie, friend and coach I could be in order to help people and keep positivity flowing.

 

I want to show the world… Who I am and my path to getting to where I am today, in the hopes of inspiring and motivating others to just persevere and push through every obstacle they encounter with a brave face and strong heart.

 

My next step is… Getting through college with high grades, and then hopefully earning a scholarship for soccer to a top-notch university along the way. I would also like to continue coaching alongside my sister, and raise a team in Kahnawake to the AAA level.

 

Meet Bailey Thomas, another indigenous athlete who’ll be hitting the ice at this year’s North American Indigenous Games.