Four years ago, Abbotsford’s Megin Turi was plucked from Chief Dan George Middle School and sent to Burnaby to join the Whitecaps Girls Elite Regional EXCEL (REX) program.
The then-13-year-old attracted the Vancouver Whitecaps attention after strong play in both the Abbotsford Soccer Association and with Surrey United of the British Columbia Soccer Premier League.
The time with the Whitecaps has transformed Turi from a strong player to an elite one and all the years of training, sacrifice and time away from home eventually paid off last month.
Turi earned a scholarship and announced her commitment to the Oregon State University Beavers women’s soccer on Nov. 10. She will be joining the Pac-12 conference team in the summer.
She said everything felt right about signing with the Corvallis, Ore.-based program.
“The first thing I loved was just how close to home it was,” she said, noting how important family is to her. “They’re also in a great conference and my family can come and watch games, which would be super cool. And then when I went down there for a visit, just the environment and the coaching staff was top notch. There was nothing else I could have wanted.”
Education is also a crucial factor for Turi. She’s maintained a 4.0 grade point average while attending Burnaby Central Secondary School and hopes to eventually attend medical school. She said OSU offers a quality education and also gives her the opportunity for an authentic American college experience.
Turi said her experience with the REX program developed her into a better all-around player and an improved athlete. But she admitted the early years were challenging. A brand new school full of people she didn’t know and living in a new area was an adjustment.
“The biggest challenge was just not knowing anyone early on,” she said. “But one of the things that made it easier was having a big group of girls on the team that I trained with because they were their for support and we were all going through the same things.”
Those enrolled in the REX program attend regular school with other BCSS students for the first three blocks and the final block is soccer. Girls of all ages often do train together, but are separated into age groups for certain drills and tournaments. Training includes on-field and in the gym and is usually six days a week. That type of discipline and intensity helped shape Turi as a player.
Fullback Megin Turi, @Megin_Turi is off to Oregon State University Beavers. The Pac 12 conference program is also home to Class of 2019 alum Abby Schwartz. Congratulations Megin! @beaverwsoccer @BeaverAthletics pic.twitter.com/r2iHf6JzQx
— Whitecaps GE REX (@WFCElite) November 10, 2021
“You’re being challenged every single day,” she said. “Your body is constantly being pushed to its limits, which obviously makes you a better player, but it was an adjustment that I had to make coming from what I was used to with my other teams.”
Turi trained with some of the best female soccer talent in the country at the REX program, including recent Olympic gold medallists Jordyn Huitema and Julia Grosso. She said the coaches at the program push players to be the best they can be.
“The coaches are very professional and I know they pushed me to limits I didn’t even know I could achieve,” she said. “Technically and physically I am a much better player and have become much stronger and faster. It’s a very competitive environment and that helps all of us develop.”
The program didn’t compete like a regular team, but attends high profile tournaments all over the world. Turi said tournaments in England and California were highlights during her four years in the program.
Turi said she will now focus on both the sports and education aspects of being a student, but said that playing soccer professionally would also be a dream. Women’s soccer leagues continue to grow in both North America and Europe.
“Playing pro would be absolutely amazing,” she said. “If given that opportunity, I think I would take it. Women’s soccer is becoming a lot bigger and more popular, and I would definitely want to be a part of that.”
The OSU Beavers women’s soccer team finished last season with a conference record of 3-7-1 and failed to qualify for the playoffs. The team usually begins play in August, with the season running until late-October or early-November.
The Beavers added five stellar signees on National Signing Day.
— Oregon State Women's Soccer (@beaverwsoccer) November 11, 2021