Canada’s junior football community is mourning a former Westshore Rebels wide receiver who died after drowning at Shuswap Lake on Thursday.
Nathan Falito, 22, played for the West Shore team for two years, helping the Rebels take the 2019 Cullen Cup championship before he graduated from the junior league last year.
Prior to his Vancouver Island career, the Edmonton native played for the Edmonton Huskies for three seasons. Rebels coach Shane Beatty says Falito was a vibrant, passionate and high-energy man, just getting his start in life.
“It’s heartbreaking, Nathan loved the game. He had a passion for putting on that #1 jersey every week he played,” Beatty said.
“He played with a passion and he lived with a passion.”
Falito had just signed to play with the University of Calgary Dinos, Beatty said.
“He loved the game of football … at 22 years old – he’s just gone way too soon.
“I pray for his family,” Beatty added. “The Westshore Rebels send our condolences and our thoughts are with his family.”
The Canadian Junior Football League tweeted Saturday that Falito was “an outstanding player and person taken far too soon.”
Falito is the second player Beatty coached who died by drowning this month. On July 6, 24-year-old Kory Nagata was found dead in the Fraser River in Richmond. Nagata was a former member of the Okanagan Sun football team.