Two elite soccer players from the Sunshine Coast have been recruited for the university teams for the school year 2021/22.

Two elite soccer players from the Sunshine Coast have been recruited for the university teams for the school year 2021/22.

Goalkeeper Mary Wood will play for the University of Winnipeg Wesmen this fall, while Ella Campbell will head south to the Webber International University Warriors in Florida, about an hour’s drive west of Tampa.

The players who graduated from high school this year will play together for the Mountain United FC High Performance League team on the Lower Mainland.

The University of Winnipeg had a tough 2019 season, finishing last in the Prairie Division of Canada West with one win, one draw and 12 losses. Last year’s season was canceled due to COVID-19.

Head coach Amy Anderson said they are delighted that Wood will join the program. “I’m excited to see how it will develop this season. She’s in an ideal situation with other goalkeepers who want to work hard too, ”she said.

Wood, 18, who has two jobs to save in addition to goalkeeping training for school, said while COVID-19 has been hard-motivated due to game cancellations, she is preparing to refocus on pre-season.

The Gibsons resident will earn a degree in criminal justice from the university with an academic scholarship and six 46 District School Scholarships in her name.

Wood had targeted the United States for varsity games for years, but she overturned that decision after the events sparked by the murder of George Floyd last summer, despite interest from US schools. “Everything that happened at that moment was scary,” she said.

With U of Winnipeg in place, Wood is also preparing to acclimate to freezing prairie winters. “Thank goodness there are indoor soccer fields,” she said. “I buy a lot of very large coats.”

Campbell, on the other hand, will do the opposite climate adaptation – “I’m trying to get used to it now, but yeah, it’s going to be very hot,” she said of her preparations for the Florida game.

Warriors head coach Erik Casterline said the team are looking for full-backs who can hold the ball and be involved in attacks as the team develops their style of play.

“We were impressed with their ability on the ball and their 1v1 defense,” he said in an email. “The fact that she is such a committed student athlete who does well not only on the field but also in class made the decision easy.”

The Warriors, who compete in Division 1 of the Sun Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), recorded four wins, nine losses and one draw in 2020, finishing in sixth place.

Campbell, who is pursuing a degree in kinesiology, has received an athletic scholarship that guarantees her a minimum of approximately $ 100,000 over four years.

The 17-year-old Sechelt resident said it was disappointing to have missed games due to the pandemic, but has already started a demanding training package from the school in addition to the three-day training plan.

“Right now I feel fit enough to play, I’m just not exactly sure what to expect,” she said. “Focusing on myself and getting as fit as possible is really what I want to do now.”