It was a perfect ending to 2023 and a start to 2024 for a talented local soccer player.
Swift Current's Griffin Striker suited up with the Nike Canada Elite XI team in Orlando, Florida at the Disney Soccer Showcase tournament just days after Christmas.
His team filled with players from across Canada, mainly from Toronto and Vancouver, went undefeated in the five matches they played to capture the championship.
Striker being the lone player from Saskatchewan on the squad was thrilled with the outcome and happy to show that Canadians can compete well on the international stage.
"The fields there were so nice and there was so many of them," he recalled. "Playing against people from all over the United States, from New York, North Carolina, and Florida, it was pretty crazy."
The centre midfielder returned home to receive a pair of emails, one from Nike Canada Elite XI hoping to have him aboard in the future and another with a different offer.
"I got invited to a university camp in North Carolina but that's pretty far away, so I won't be attending," he said.
The following week Striker teamed up with Swift Current's Rowan Reimer to head south of the border again this time playing for his natural team, Forge FC.
They entered the Minot State Cup in the U17 and U19 categories on January 6 and 7 at Minot State University.
Forge FC played a total of six games placing first in the U17 bracket and four in the U19 draw.
Their team was made up of players from Swift Current, Yorkton, Moose Jaw, Weyburn, and Humboldt.