Thompson Rivers University (TRU) is becoming the beneficiary of the excellence of the women’s soccer program in the Smithers area. Another local player will be going on to play the sport at the school next fall.
Chantal Gammie has opted to attend TRU next fall and will be joining Robin Price, who is already at the Kamloops school. Price, enrolled in the nursing program, is in her second year playing for the Wolfpack and has been an academic All-Canadian.
“The smaller class size and sense of community are the main reasons why I chose Thompson Rivers,” said Gammie “It’s a great opportunity to play with a young team as it’s being built up.”
According to Bill Price, the local program for soccer continues to develop high quality players due to the excellent coaching and play opportunities that exist in the area. This season may be challenging due to the late spring but the local group has sought to provide occasions for players to hone their skills. Indoor school, select, academy and adult drop-in soccer provide occasions for players to remain in top form.
Price named a long list of committed, experienced coaches, such as Maria and Sondra Contemelius and Brian Irvine, who have helped develop the young women who are interested in pursuing the sport. On the top of the list was Dan Imhof, who operates his soccer academy which helps young athletes learn the sport at increasingly advanced levels.
Women’s soccer in the local area is also very popular with up to eight or nine teams the last few seasons. It has become a year-long program with indoor sessions during the periods of the year which make outdoor games and practices inaccessible.
Price felt that the overall excellence in sports programs in the area has made it possible for athletes such as Gammie to develop their skills and abilities to a very high level. Price’s daughter Robin for example did not play that much soccer and built up her strength, balance and fitness as a gymnast, playing volleyball and being active outdoors.
Gammie has played with the high school soccer team since she was in Grade 8 and has also participated in a number of different sports at the high school level, along with being an accomplished figure skater. According to Price, she was named athlete of the year for her school grade every year.
Price feels that the fact that there are four very competitive teams in the high school league in the Northwest leads to the development of a very high calibre standard in the area.
“We usually go down to the coast and then Kitimat and Terrace and then up here. This year we couldn’t play here so we wanted to host an indoor tournament and everyone said that was a good idea but in the end no one came,” he said.
“But then we played against the Smithers women which was in fact much better competition.”