Local Officer takes football team under his wing

TRI-CITIES, WA. - One local Kennewick police officer truly embodies everything the word hero, truly means.

This is Officer James Canada. On weekdays, you'll find him patrolling the halls of Kennewick High as school resource officer. But on the weekend? It's Coach Canada for any one of these kids.

"I don't separate my job other than I don't have to arrest these guys, hopefully."

The former Central Washington football star coaches a 7th and 8th grade All-Stars football team. The Tri-City Elite.

"I love the game of football, I have been playing since I was six years old, and the life lessons you learn in football are vital to a young man's success," said Coach Canada.

It's not about the money for Coach Canada in fact, he doesn't earn any for his weekend job.

"There success is what drives me, I'm out here because I love it," said Coach Canada.

And the players are thankful.

"Being an officer he is busy, but he finds the time to come out and coach us and better us," said eighth grader Brendon Villasenor.

"This is getting you ready for high school football, I think it's really good opportunity and I'm glad to be a part of it," said eighth grader Brennan Barberich.

One of the challenges for the coach and his team is funding. Gear is donated from Ki-Be and his players only pay a $20 registration fee, that's it. Players come from Walla Walla to Benton City - never turning anyone away.

"Winning and losing comes and goes, really we don't want to turn any kid away, if any kid wants to come out and work hard and get better at football and life then we are going to take them," said Coach Canada.

"I love coming out here to get to play more and hone my skills and better myself out here," said Villasenor.

"At first it was kind of weird because you were all rivals going into it, but in the end you become a big team and it's really fun," said Barberich.

The coach and his team are not part of any big league or organization. They just want to get better at football and life.

"We try to equate practice like life, if you practice hard you play well, if you do your homework then you will do well in school," said Coach Canada.

The Elite play teams from all around the state. At times it is difficult to finance trips to the west side, but the coach has a message for teams throughout the state.

"Anyone that wants to test the Elite, we welcome all comers," said Coach Canada.

Spoken like a true authority figure, on the grid-iron and on the job.