Cooper Coats

Community:

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Sport:

Rugby

Achievements:

Rugby Canada Athlete

Support from home can take you worldwide.

Support from home can take you worldwide.

Cooper Coats hoped he’d one day represent Canada in the game of soccer, but little did he know he would be travelling the world as a Rugby 7s player for Team Canada.

Throughout school, Cooper had been a dedicated soccer player. He traveled to Sherbrooke for the Canada Games in 2013, representing Nova Scotia in soccer and by the time he was in his final year at Citadel High School, he had committed to study at Acadia on a four-year varsity scholarship.

It was in Cooper’s grade twelve year that his course changed. After suffering an ankle injury at the Canada Games, Cooper was forced to take time off from soccer. His competitive spirit would not let him rest for long, when he recovered, he began playing Rugby for Citadel High, knowing he would be heading to Acadia to play soccer the next year.

Immediately, Cooper found a community in Rugby, “The camaraderie is truly unique, it’s something I fell in love with when I got to play it,” he says.

Not only did he make it to the provincials with Citadel High’s rugby team in his final year, not long after, Cooper was fortunate enough to go to the Canadian Rugby Nationals in Calgary in 2018 and was eventually selected for the under 18 national team tour to Romania. It was his provincial team coach that encouraged Cooper to see a future for himself in rugby.

Throughout his undergraduate degree, Cooper played soccer in the fall season and rugby in the summer. He joined the Halifax Tars rugby club and the Nova Scotia Celtics, and made the regional team, Atlantic Rock. It was the support of the local rugby clubs that took him under their wing that led to the opportunity for Cooper to play rugby full time at the under 20 Rugby Canada training camps in Victoria, B.C.

The unique sense of community, family and financial support from Support4Sport is something he is incredibly grateful for. “The funding I get from Support4Sport lightens the burden,” he explains. “Without these programs, we wouldn’t have the support, we wouldn’t see the athletes do as well as they do on the national or international scene.”

In 2018, Cooper was called to represent team Canada in Capetown Rugby 7s, an experience he describes as mysterious, until he was finally wearing the maple leaf on his chest, “You get your first jersey presentation, telling you that the next day you’ll be playing a game for Canada. It’s truly an incredible experience.” He recalls receiving messages from his local club team members that had been cheering him on.

With help from Support4Sport, Cooper is pursuing his desire to be a better athlete. He can focus on beating his best competition, himself. “I always try to compare myself to the person I was yesterday, and if I’m continuously improving, then I’m on a good track.”

Cooper hopes to encourage more young athletes to take advantage of the support and opportunities at the club level, “Get into your local sports clubs, you might just meet the best friends of your life, and you’ll learn the most important lessons that you’ll carry through the rest of your career.”

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