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Next Up for Surrey boys who love basketball but don’t make the school team

‘Basketball is popular in (Surrey) and we have so many students but only so many spots on (school) teams’
A group of Next Up players during a basketball session at a Surrey school gym. (Contributed photo)

Not every kid is good enough at basketball to make their high school team. That’s where Next Up steps up.

New in Surrey is the program, which gives Grade 8 and 9 boys a chance to hit the court and learn the game in a team setting.

This spring, “friendly” but competitive after-school games are played at seven secondary schools in the district, including Guildford Park, Kwantlen Park, L.A. Matheson, Frank Hurt, Princess Margaret, Earl Marriott and Semiahmoo, from April until June.

Next Up is designed for the many Surrey students who attend basketball tryouts but don’t necessarily make the team, according to Meredith Verma, manager of Community Schools Partnership (CSP) for Surrey Schools.

“Basketball is popular in our district and we have so many students but only so many spots on teams at each school,” Verma noted. “We came together and began exploring options to expand access and opportunities for students interested in basketball and thanks to our community partners, were able to create Next Up.”

Program funding is made possible by Sport For Life with a goal of becoming “a beacon of inclusivity and engagement for young athletes in Surrey,” according to a post on

“The program recognizes that these students may face various barriers or simply not make the main school team. While many schools focus on providing opportunities for female students interested in basketball, this program will initially prioritize male players.”

Coaching is done with the help of community partners including Game Ready, YMCA Urban Rec and Sport for Life, in addition to CSP facilitators and senior basketball players in the school district.

“We’re really grateful for the chance to run this program,” Verma added. “Surrey is definitely a basketball city, and so to have even more opportunities for our students to explore that passion is always wonderful.”

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
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