Five new recruits have signed on the dotted line with the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades women’s soccer team for 2016.
Forward Simi Lehal (Surrey), midfielder Brooke Walton (Surrey), defenders Marianne Spring (Abbotsford) and Kelsey Mitchell (Langley), and goalkeeper Brooke Molby (Squamish) are in the midst of their Grade 12 years and will suit up for the Cascades in the fall of 2016.
They join a UFV women’s soccer program which spent a team-record seven weeks in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport top 10 national rankings in 2015, and has appeared at the CIS national championships twice in the past six seasons.
“We’re very excited about this incoming class,” said women’s head coach Rob Giesbrecht. “They are athletically gifted, strong competitive players we think will succeed at the Canada West level. And most importantly their character is an excellent fit for the program we are building. We believe that these five student-athletes will enhance our positive, competitive, team-focused culture.”
Spring joins sophomore midfielder Chandpreet Sandhu as the two Abbotsford products on the club for 2016.
Giesbrecht not only had to pry Spring away from other university soccer programs, he also had to contend with basketball and volleyball suitors who pursued the talented multi-sport athlete.
Spring, who excelled on behalf of the Mouat Hawks’ soccer, basketball and volleyball teams, was named her grade’s top female athlete in Grades 9, 10 and 11, and also won multiple most valuable player awards during that time. On the soccer pitch, she earned British Columbia Soccer Premier League player of the week honours in March 2013, and helped her Surrey United club qualify for the 2015 U18 national championships in Prince Edward Island.
“With one of the strongest programs in the country and having played for coach Rob’s U18 BCSPL team at 15 years old, joining the UFV Cascades seemed a natural next step,” said Spring, who will begin her academic career at UFV in general studies, focusing on education, languages and psychology.
“When you include the opportunity to play a key role in the Cascades’ march to a national championship over the next few years, I am excited to join the team and do my part.”
“Marianne’s an outstanding athlete and a great person. I believe she’s going to be a dominant centre back at the Canada West level in the future,” Giesbrecht said. “She’s improved so much over the last couple years. She’s going to be a ball-winning centre back who will also be really comfortable on the ball.”
Spring and the five other new recruits open the CIS season next September.