The showroom at Saunders Subaru was full of red, white and black as junior football’s Westshore Rebels held their National Signing Day event Monday.
Canadian Junior Football League teams across the nation sign many members of their squads on June 1, after concluding spring training camps and players attend other camps to explore their options.
“This guy’s the joker in our deck of cards,” said Rebels head coach J.C. Boice, his arm around freshly-signed running back/slot receiver Jordan Worth, a 2015 Belmont secondary grad.
“Do you know what that means? The joker is the card that will win or lose a hand. That’s you,” Boice told the young man. “Are you up for that?” he asked rhetorically.
It’s clear Worth is, in fact, up for that, as are the rest of those who signed on Monday.
Teams can sign as many players as they want, but must narrow their rosters down to 65 as of Sept. 15. Any signees cut from the squad after that date are free to sign with other teams, but may not play until the following year based on national rules.
The Rebels Cheer Team, now with Mini (aged six to nine) and Junior (aged 10 to 14) squads, added an energy to the showroom that rivals that of Subaru’s WRX rally cars. After the first wave of players inked their deals, co-owner Dave Saunders, along with father Bob, announced that their family’s foundation was giving $500 to the cheer team in support of their efforts within the community.
“We’re always happy to support local organizations like the Rebels,” Dave said. “If we can take some of the financial pressure off them so they can focus on what they do best, we’re happy to do that.”
For her part, team president Elise Pastro said she’s thrilled with the way the team has become integrated within the community. They’re not just a sports franchise who happen to play games here, she said, they’re trying to be part of the fabric of the West Shore.
“We’re not trying to build great football players here, we’re trying to build great young men,” she said. “We want them to be able to soar in whatever they go on to do in life,” and that begins with being good members of society.
Five-game season ticket packs are on sale now, at $50 for adults, $25 for ages five to 12 and $30 for seniors and students. Children under five get in free to all games.
The season kicks off in the Okanagan on July 25 when they take on the Sun, then the Rebels’ home opener goes the following week (Aug. 1) against their long-time rivals, the Vancouver Island Raiders.