Summer vacation will be a bit shorter for Jesse Groot of Cochrane.
The local product was part of the Alberta Blues U18 team as a 16-year-old linebacker and will compete in the Western Showcase July 19-27 at Sherwood Park.
“I’m super excited, I can’t wait to be there, it’s going to be awesome.” said Groot.
The initial team tryouts took place in May, while the final selection camp took place June 11-12, with Football Alberta selecting Alberta’s top 80 players and creating two separate teams, one going at the Canada Cup and the other. another to the West showcase.
“The first set of trials was in Calgary early in the morning, they started, I think it was 9 a.m., and I passed. Everything was super organized, they came in, told everything the world they were going to at their station and from there it was just about playing the best football possible, and I think that’s what I did I played to the best of my abilities said Groot.
Competing against other high school players older than him, Groot says competing at this level of competition has been a great learning experience.
“It was a great experience, it was always a learning experience, and learning from these older guys and making friends with these older guys. It was obviously a very, very high level of competition, especially me being a bit younger but you just have to match that level of competition and then become better than them, you just have to have heart and keep playing.
Now that he’s been on the team, Groot says the work doesn’t stop there.
“There’s a big email I got saying to get in shape. If you can’t get into the gym, they have super helpful workouts with just bodyweight, workouts that will help you excel. for the tournament. And other than that like me I just got home from the gym. You gotta be ready for it like it’s one. It’s all up to you. They’re testing you, to see if you’ll do well in football at home. ‘coming.
The Western Challenge itself will have a schedule similar to what college football players might see.
“We’ll be up there for the Western Challenge for two weeks and every day it’s two or three practices a day. Obviously with team and team building events too. said Groot.
To add to the excitement, Groot will be joined on Team Alberta Blue by his Cochrane High School cobras, Tate Pickard (defensive back) and Nathan Jasmin-Cara (offensive line).
“It’s amazing. It’s all I could ask for to make memories with these guys, especially for one more year in high school with them, and they’re older than me. I’m great friends with them. They welcomed me very politely into the program when I started, and that’s where the friendship really started and I’m really excited to see what happens when we get there.
Fellow Cobra Ethan Clazie (receiver) was on the Canada Cup roster.
The 5’10” middle linebacker didn’t play organized football until he started high school and credits his coaches for helping him become the football player he is now.
“I would like to thank the coaches of our Cochrane Cobras. They are amazing. They run a great program, it’s the best program in any sport I’ve played. Super friendly, super strict when you need them to to be and super tame and nice off the field. Also I would like to thank my coaches at the Calgary Cowboys, for the spring league in Calgary and they were great. They treated me amazing. They taught me , and I excelled in my football knowledge even They prepared me for the Alberta team tryouts, and the high school season, they were amazing.
Groot says his goal is to play at the college level here in Canada.
“My dream is to play college football. That’s my overall goal right now. That’s what I wrote on the top of my bed every morning so I could read it and remember it.”