30 Under 30: Summer Clarke
High school: R.C. Palmer
Being coached by your dad isn’t something a lot of kids welcome. But Summer Clarke embraced it.
“It can be tough sometimes because if there’s something you need to work on, you hear it at home as well as at the park,” she said. “But he’s taught me everything I know about soccer and overall he’s one of the best coaches I’ve had. For me, being a forward, he’s been really good at teaching me how to make certain runs and how to handle the ball effectively.”
Having just accepted a full four-year scholarship to Louisiana State University, Clarke is the latest in an athletic family to suit up for Canada. Her older brother Caleb is currently the top scorer with the Canadian men’s team at the under-20 CONCACAF qualifying tournament in Mexico. Summer shows similar natural goal-scoring instincts and led Canada’s under-17 squad with a club-record seven goals at last year’s CONCACAF women’s under-17 championship in Guatemala and at the World Cup last summer in Azerbaijan.
Though she helped lead her club team, Richmond Red Hot Selects to five straight metro championships from U14 to U18, Summer didn’t expect to become such a prominent player at the national and international level. At least not so soon after failing to make the under-15 squad.
“I think scoring goals is a lot about technique,” she said. “You need to know how to shoot to score goals and from a young age I was kind of good at it.”
She also credits Caleb for helping her take the next step.
“He has had a big influence on how I’ve played,” she said. “He’s always been one step ahead and I’ve always looked up to him. It’s cool to be able to have someone you’re close to like that.”
Despite her success, Clarke is determined to maintain an even keel. She tries to approach every game the same, whether she’s playing for Canada or a local team.
Inspiration? “My family and friends inspire me to do the beset I can in whatever I take part in.”
Most proud of? “My achievements in soccer as well as in academics.”
Advice? “My advice to anyone who is trying to achieve a goal would be to work hard, and don’t give up even if things get a little tough along the way.”