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At an hour when most teens still have pillows under their heads, Deh Gah athletes like Jonah Bonnetrouge, left, and Cameron Sapp are at soccer practice by 7 a.m. three mornings each week. School staff members Agnes Bonnetrouge and Darlene McLeod prepare their breakfast on those mornings.

Rise and shine

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Providence (Mar 04/05) - When some teens are reaching for their alarm clock snooze buttons on weekday mornings, the Fort Providence soccer boys are already working up a sweat.

Back in January, Deh Gah school soccer coach Chris Carson informed hopefuls for the 20-and-under and 16-and-under boys soccer teams that they would have to report for practice at 7 a.m.

That was OK with some of them, but it didn't go over so well with others.

"The newer players were reluctant, they still are," Carson said.

"They have to make a choice whether they really want to go to Super Soccer and really want to make a difference in their lives. They've got to make some sacrifices and show some dedication."

Since the Tuesday through Thursday pre-breakfast training sessions began, many of the teenaged student-athletes have adjusted.

Trevor Bonnetrouge, 14, said he's come to embrace the morning practices.

"It's kind of early, but I got used to it," he said. "It makes you feel good."

Teammate Ruben Sanderson, 15, added, "I like soccer, so it's not that hard to get up in the morning."

Fourteen-year-old Cameron Sapp said he's out of bed by 6 a.m. (or at least 6:30 a.m.) in order to be on time for stretching and running laps.

"After a while you start to get tired when you don't get to bed early," Sapp admitted, adding he pushes himself because, "I want to make it."

At age 20, Jonah Bonnetrouge is an elder statesman among the soccer players. He said he tries to make every practice to, "set an example for the younger ones." He added that the exercise is a refreshing start to the day.

Carson noted that the other criteria for making the team include achieving 80 per cent attendance, displaying good behaviour, completing academic assignments and earning passing grades.

He said the players won't be cut from the team based on a lack of athletic ability.

"I just want them to work hard, hustle and try to improve," said Carson.