By Sam Laskaris
CHATSWORTH, CALIFORNIA – Though he only started playing lacrosse a few years ago, Clinton Kaboni has quickly made a name for himself in the sport.
In fact, the 15-year-old is now moving away from home in order to pursue his passion for the sport and hopefully progress sufficiently to eventually nab an athletic scholarship from an American university.
Though he was a Grade 10 student at British Columbia’s Merritt Secondary School for the first portion of this academic year, Kaboni has transferred to Sierra Canyon School, a private school in the Los Angeles suburb of Chatsworth, where he will continue his schooling in January.
Though he was born in North Bay, since 2014 Kaboni has been living in Merritt, B.C. with his father Wayne, a member of the Wikwemikong Territory, and his 14-year-old brother Connor.
Kaboni’s mother Kerri is also Indigenous. She’s a member of the Nipissing First Nation.
Kaboni’s transfer to the California school came about rather quickly. In early November he attended a field lacrosse showcase event at Denver University where he was able to display his skills through some testing and in some games as well.
Afterwards, representatives from three schools expressed interest in him. Besides Sierra Canyon, others keen on him were a school from Florida and St. Andrew’s College in Aurora, Ont.
Besides a desire to be relatively close to home, a November visit to Sierra Canyon School convinced Kaboni that is where he wanted to be.
“When I walked into classes, the teachers were very engaging with the students,” he said. “The school I’m at is not really like that.”
Though he will be playing lacrosse for the California school, Kaboni was also impressed with the academics it offers.
He’s now hoping to spend the next two and a half years at the school and then hopefully garner an athletic scholarship to continue playing field lacrosse at an NCAA Division 1 university in the U.S.
Though he’s not quite sure what lies ahead for him, Kaboni said he’s thinking of eventually pursuing a career in business or law.
Sierra Canyon School officials were working on finding Kaboni a billet family this week.
“If I can I would want to stay with one of my teammates,” he said.
Sierra Canyon is best known for its basketball program. Its boys’ team is not only a state but a national power as well.
Besides playing lacrosse, Kaboni doubts he would be able to crack the school’s basketball roster but he is hoping to suit up for the Sierra Canyon football squad next year.
Kaboni’s progression in lacrosse has been rather quick.
“I’ve only been playing since we moved to B.C.,” he said.
But this past year he was able to earn a spot on the provincial under-15 squad.
Besides playing field lacrosse for his high school team in Merritt, Kaboni spent this past fall toiling for a squad in Kamloops.
This year he also played box lacrosse in Merritt, for the Nicola Valley Thunder organization.
Kaboni will get right into the swing of things once he gets to California. His team has a tournament scheduled for the first weekend in January in San Diego.
Though he will have new teammates and will undoubtedly make some new friends, it might not be too long before Kaboni is joined by a familiar face at the school.
His brother Connor is also hoping to attend Sierra Canyon School. He’s hoping he’ll be accepted to the school and start classes in September 2018.