RICHMOND, B.C., —Back in September, Meagan Wilson, the 22-year-old rugby coach behind Iroquois Roots Rugby from the Six Nations community, was notified that she earned the Indigenous female coach of the year award.
Meanwhile, Greg Meconse, a 23-year-old soccer coach from Winnipeg, is this year’s male Indigenous coach of the year.
Both Wilson and Meconse were honoured at a ceremony held on November 8, which was held in conjunction with a sport leadership conference.
The accolades, called the 2019 National Indigenous Coaching Awards, were selected by officials from the Aboriginal Sport Circle, the national body which governs Indigenous athletics.
Wilson, who started playing rugby while she was in high school at Brantford Collegiate Institute in Ontario, but for her Grade 12 year, she went to a private school in B.C., Shawinigan Lake School, on a full scholarship after school officials became aware of her rugby prowess.
She later founded the Iroquois Roots Rugby program in 2017.
Wilson has taken her program to various First Nations throughout Ontario in the past two years to introduce rugby to Indigenous youth of all ages. Based out of Ohsweken, the program fielded under-18 female and male teams this season.
The two clubs participated in tournaments in Markham and Brantford. And they will also compete at an event in Orlando, Florida this coming April.Wilson said Iroquois Roots Rugby is also looking to field under-15 teams, both female and male, in 2020.
As for Meconse, a member of the Pinaymootang First Nation in Manitoba, was surprised to be chosen as this year’s top Indigenous male coach. That’s because he has only been coaching for one year.
Meconse, who has Anishinabee and Cree ancestry, was also an accomplished soccer player himself.
He spent two seasons toiling with the University of Northern British Columbia men’s team. He also toiled one year with the men’s team at the Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg.
He was also hoping to suit up for the University of Winnipeg, where he is currently a student. But the university cancelled its men’s soccer program.
Besides coaching soccer at the community level in Winnipeg, Meconse will also be coaching the Manitoba male under-16 team at the 2020 North American Indigenous Games in Halifax next summer.