Can You Kick It? (Yes, You Can!)
Brendon Ulysse and the importance of sport
Maichina Veri, May 14, 2022 // Brantford, OntarioBrendon Ulysse of Ulysse Soccer Training with his students. Photo credit Paul Smith, Photohouse Studio.
Soccer in Canada is experiencing a great revival – especially since Canada’s national men’s team won qualification to the 2022 World Cup this past March. With the sport gaining more traction, BTOWN thought it was about time to sit down with Brantford’s own soccer leader Brendon Ulysse. Teacher, centre midfield and coach, Brendon is a force of liveliness that radiates an infectious enthusiasm through his personality and passion for education and sport.
Brendon, among teaching, coaching and being the president of the Brantford Men’s Soccer League, runs Ulysse Soccer Training in the city. His main goal is to help and inspire kids. “A lot can be said about sports development, especially when it’s done right. There’s so much good that comes out of it,” he says. “I think for a lot of kids it’s the social element. For some of them it becomes an identity as well: ‘I am a soccer player.’ They have something they can always fall back on, regardless of what is going on in their lives.”
Coach Brendon on the pitch with his students running some drills. Photo credit Paul Smith, Photohouse Studio.
Having coached for over half his life, alongside his father as well as at First Touch Soccer Academy, Brendon is well trained and equipped for the role he has chosen to take. Some of the inspiration for his soccer training club was drawn from his academy experience and, for about the past 12 years, Brendon has been running Ulysse Soccer Training with great success. Measured in positive feedback, empowerment of others, kids being healthy, happy and active, as well as a less important trophy cabinet, the success keeps coming. Registration is on the rise and, as Brendon moves into the future, he says it looks like “nothing but green lights” as his business continues to develop and thrive.
None of this could happen without the importance of sport for youth. Likening sport to art, Brendon says, “Sport is performance art. For some youth, this is something that really helps them to thrive as individuals. They love the competitive element, they love the physical nature of exerting and expressing themselves with the ball on the field. Also, the opportunity to work within a team, and to be a part of a unit – these are essential life skills that kids have the opportunity to learn when they engage with sport.”
"He cycles around several times to how great Brantford is for sports, and how many organizations in Brantford are doing amazing things. He easily lists Harlequins Rugby Football Club, Role (a basketball program similar to Ulysse Soccer Training) and, of course, the Great One as reasons Brantford should be on the map of sports excellence."
It’s not just soccer that Brendon is passionate about. He cycles around several times to how great Brantford is for sports, and how many organizations in Brantford are doing amazing things. He easily lists Harlequins Rugby Football Club, Role (a basketball program similar to Ulysse Soccer Training) and, of course, the Great One as reasons Brantford should be on the map of sports excellence. “It’s been a little bit of a mission to have Brantford be proud and to be able stand up and say, ‘Yes, we are good at so many things!’ We’re amazing,” Brendon stresses. “It’s always people turning their nose up at Brantford, and we do it to ourselves a lot, so ending that stigma is a major part of my mission.”
Coach Brendon passing down his knowledge of soccer to Brantford's next generation. Photo credit Paul Smith, Photohouse Studio.
Whether it’s empowering youth or lifting up Brantford, Brendon is sweeping us all up in his whirlwind of positivity. If you’re interested in training with Brendon, Ulysse Soccer Training offers programming for anyone who wants to learn. Unlike elitist academies, Brendon wants to include everyone in his training. There is still some availability left in youth summer camps and you can sign up on the Ulysse Soccer Training website at ulyssesoccertraining.com. Also give them a follow on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ulyssesoccertraining/) and Instagram (@ulyssesoccertraining).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maichina Veri is a writer based in Brantford, Ontario. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Montreal’s Concordia University and has a background in Journalism – Print from Niagara College.