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The Other Foot Soccer School


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Richard Hastings, the man who scored the golden goal for Canada against Mexico en route to winning the Gold Cup in 2000, has brought a unique approach to teaching soccer in Nanaimo.

The international soccer celebrity will open The Other Foot Soccer School Canada, a training method that teaches kids to use their weaker foot to add dimension to their game and get clubs to notice them. His school is new to Canada and he's gone so far as to license the training from its founder.

"The idea came from a Scottish gentleman who wondered how much better you could be if you trained your weaker, or other, foot?" Hastings explained.

Hastings left Canada for the UK when he was seven and has played professional soccer for the past 16 years in Scotland, Austria and Holland. He has represented the Canadian senior men's national team 59 times and taken part in two World Cup qualifying campaigns.

After scoring the tiebreaker in extended time against Mexico, his team went on to defeat Colombia in the an unprecedented final for the Gold Cup win. Hastings also took Rookie of the Tournament honours.

He has recently retired and returned to Nanaimo, where his wife grew up, and has settled in with his three children. Hastings hopes to give back to the game that gave so much to him.

The school focuses solely on the weaker foot using colourcoded socks similar to a martial art's belt system. Each student uses a yellow sock to identify their other foot and wears a different-coloured sock on their main foot to reflect skill level. As the student progresses they change the colour of their main foot sock, going from red to blue, green, purple, orange and eventually black.

The socks are like a badge, Hastings said. "As you progress, you learn self-worth and become hungry for the next level."

By learning the other foot, players open doors for themselves by becoming more versatile. The ability to play more positions on the field and being able to shoot with the weaker foot can vastly improve a child's game, Hastings said.

"They'll come out of the training with competitive spirit and self-worth and when they go back to their club teams the coaches will wonder where they've been and what happened to them."

The school opens on Jan. 31, and Hastings has said that the first sessions are almost full, but he won't rule out expanding in the near future especially considering how fast the sport is growing.

"There are so many opportunities out there for scholarships and there are many pro leagues. There is a world of soccer out there to aspire to. "

CKoehn@nanaimodailynews.com 250-729-4228

© Copyright © Postmedia News

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