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Orillia teen courting hoops dreams at United World Games in June

'To me, it's a big opportunity because I get to travel internationally,' says Patrick Fogarty student of chance to play in Austria this summer
Grade 12 Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School student Jade Solomon has an National Collegiate Scouting Association profile and has been approached by universities in the United States.

Orillia's Jade Solomon has been invited to play basketball for Team U.S.A. at the United World Games in Austria in June.

The 18-year-old plays rep basketball with the Midland Waves U19 team and she is a Grade 12 student at Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School in Orillia.

"To me, it's a big opportunity because I get to travel internationally," she said.

Solomon has a National Collegiate Scouting Association profile in hopes of being picked up by a United States college or university for basketball.

"She's got multiple coaches looking at her," said her mother, Lynn MacDonald.

One head coach interested in Solomon is Lorie Khalil from Penn State University. She invited Solomon to apply for the United World Games.

"The international tour will broaden her outlook of what is out there. It's not just our own little part of the world," said MacDonald.

The games take place in Flagenfurt, Austria, June 20 to 23, but the trip is 10 days long and includes side trips to Germany and Italy.

"It's going to be the trip that will remain with her," said MacDonald.

Athletes have to pay their own way and the cost is expected to be about $12,000 for Solomon and MacDonald. The Army Navy and Air Force Veterans Club 400 Orillia is sponsoring Solomon.

There will be eight Canadian youth representing different sports, including lacrosse, volleyball and soccer. They are all representing the United States because Canada does not have a team through Student Athlete World (SAW) yet.

SAW is planning to start a Canadian touring team next summer, according to

Solomon, who stands five-foot-10 tall and weighs 145 pounds, has been playing rep basketball for three years. She is in her first year with the Midland Waves, a team that won the silver medal at the Mike O'Connor Memorial Girls Tournament in Ottawa in February. There were about 100 girls' teams competing, the most in the event's history.

"It was definitely intense. Competition was fierce," said Solomon, who typically plays small forward.

Midland Waves coach Steve Eakley said the team is doing well this year with a 6-0 record in the first half. He noted Solomon hasn't missed a game or practice, which is "huge."

"I feel the more exposure any athlete gets to different teams and styles of play is amazing. Jade enjoys learning and experiencing different camps and coaches, which, over time, adds up to a lot of basketball IQ," he said.

"Jade will be able to use the United Games as a way to show university and college coaches her strengths. Jade definitely has the desire to work hard, so I feel she has a chance to make good impressions and ultimately get opportunities in college and university.

"We will all be cheering for Jade this summer as she represents Orillia in Austria."

Solomon loves the sport of basketball.

“I like how it’s very fast paced, and sometimes when the scores are tied in the fourth quarter, it gets very intense. You hear both teams yelling. It brings out the energy more," she said.


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Gisele Winton Sarvis

About the Author: Gisele Winton Sarvis

Gisele Winton Sarvis is an award winning journalist and photographer who has focused on telling the stories of the people of Simcoe County for more than 25 years
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