- BC Games
Connect with Us
Tsawwassen defender key to T-Bird success
By Kristine Salzmann
The University of B.C. women’s soccer team heads into a do-or-die game Friday (Nov. 1), and its head coach says a key “cog in the wheel” is a player from Tsawwassen.
Defender Jordan Kitagawa has helped lead the UBC squad to the top spot in the Canada West league for fewest goals allowed – the team allowed a conference-low five goals during the regular season, according to a UBC Thunderbirds media release.
“She’s been just a key cog in the wheel for a team that needed to be really solid from the goalkeeper through the defensive line forward, and really has set an example in that regard,” said head coach Andrea Neil in a phone interview.
A win against the Calgary Dinos last Saturday (Oct. 26) on home turf advanced the T-Birds to the Canada West Final Four in Victoria. On Friday evening the team must defeat the University of Alberta in order to secure one of two spots to the national CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) Championship in Toronto Nov. 7-10, a team they lost to 3-2 two weeks ago.
“So it’s a rematch of two weeks ago, and it’s such a great opportunity for both programs,” Neil said, a former T-Bird herself who also played with the Vancouver Whitecaps Women’s FC and the Canadian Women’s National Team. “It was a very tight game in the end and Alberta came out on top, but this is the game that counts.”
Kitagawa, a South Delta Secondary graduate, is in her fifth and final year in the Faculty of Science at UBC.
“The opportunity I’ve had to work with her, it’s been incredible,” said Neil, who became head coach this past year. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to see a player grow for five years – I hope I get the opportunity five years down the road to get to know some of these women over the course of a big chunk of their lifetime, but it’s been such a sincere pleasure to watch Jordan blossom to the person she is even just in the last 10 and a half months.”
Added Neil, “She’s certainly one of the leaders on the team. She’s such a sound example, such a good-hearted person on and off the field as well.”