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. 

Meet Melody Horn, an indigenous soccer player navigating life on the field

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 sisters Melody Horn.

 

 


 

 

My chosen sport is… Soccer, I’ve been playing since I was 6 years old.

 

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… Participating in the World Indigenous Games and on top of that winning gold in Brazil back in 2015 alongside my sister and the rest of team Canada. I never thought I would reach an international level at such a young age.

 

Participating in the NAIG is important to me because… Whoever is chosen for their respective sports is chosen to represent their own indigenous culture and is showcasing themselves in their respective sport. It’s an honor to be able to share my culture and to learn about other indigenous cultures, meet people from different parts of North America and to be able to go to such a big event for the sport that I’ve worked hard on all my life.

 

I surprise people when I tell them… I had a baby in December of 2016. I often have people tell me that it doesn’t look like I had one.

 

My best advice from a coach was… “Focus on your own game, don’t worry about the other people or anything else”. It stuck in my head because many times if an opposing player would start getting physical, I would do it back or if they say derogatory words towards me I would say something back. I eventually learned to keep to myself and not do anything back. Instead, I would focus on my game and just use my skill against them because if you’re trying to think of anything negative to do back to them, you’re not focused on what you’re actually there for.

 

My biggest setback was… Failing my first ever college semester back in the fall of 2015 at Vanier College. I had asked my teachers a few weeks prior for any homework or assignments I’d be missing for the two weeks I was leaving for Brazil for the World Indigenous Games in October 2015, which then they told me I could do it all when I got back. When I got back from Brazil, it was already November and I only had a few weeks to finish almost 20 assignments I had missed. I was motivated and tried my best to get them all completed. I ended up completing all of them but I ended up failing 4/7 courses which put me way back. I was so discouraged I took the next semester off.

 

I overcame it by… Going back to school for the fall semester of 2017 at Dawson College! I’m so excited to be able to get a fresh start on my education.

 

I stay focused by… Thinking about why I’m there in the first place. I think about my goals and what I want to accomplish in my life.

 

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… That being an athlete, you would figure that my inspiration would be another athlete, but other than my family, my other inspiration is the singer Russ Vitale, also known as Russ.

 

I stay inspired by… Listening to music, seeking competition, exercising and listening to other people’s stories.

 

The future excites me because… Since I have a daughter now, I can’t wait to teach her what life has to offer. I plan on teaching her how to play soccer too but in the end, if she chooses to play a different sport, I will support her all the way.

 

I want to show the world that… The key to being successful is to keep an open mind, find something that motivates you to follow your dreams and don’t give up. You’ll face many challenges but in the end, it’ll be worth it.

 

My next step is… Go to college with high expectations, continue to play soccer until I physically can’t anymore and along the way teach my daughter everything there is to know involving sports with the help of my sister Lylee.

 

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

Meet Bailey Thomas, a young Indigenous athlete ready for the NAIG 2017

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 Bailey Thomas, a hockey player with big goals on and off the ice.

 

 


 

 

My chosen sport is… I am pursuing hockey but I love volleyball, I’m not quite sure if I like it more, but I feel like I do just because I know I can improve my abilities in the sport.

 

I decided to pursue athletics because… I love competition and living an active lifestyle.

 

My proudest accomplishment is… receiving the OVA (Ontario Volleyball Association) Provincials Excellence Award.

 

Participating in the NAIG is important to me because… My family has been participating in the tournament since it has existed. Also, I like to bring my best to the table to play against my fellow indigenous peers and prove that we are just as good competition as any other.

 

My best advice from a coach was… Work the hardest, no matter how goofy you think you look, you’ll always look the best.

 

My biggest setback was… Last year when I didn’t make the junior team i wanted to in Ottawa.

 

I overcame it by… After the tryout I was devastated because it seemed like my only chance to get noticed by a D1 school, but my last tournament of last year I continued to work as hard as possible in the NAHC (National Aboriginal Hockey Championships) and I was scouted by an even better junior team in Toronto.

 

I stay focused by… Always working towards my goals every single day.

 

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… That I am a concert fanatic. I’ve been to 48 concerts in my lifetime.

 

I stay inspired by… Always knowing that there is room to improve on the ice, on the court, in the gym, at home, and in the classroom.

 

The future excites me because… Anything imaginable can happen.

 

I want to show the world that… Indigenous people are still here, and thriving.

 

My next step is… Winning at NAIG.