Kevin Rothbauer Citizen
Cowichan Secondary School field hockey goaltender Robin Fleming, who backstopped the Thunderbirds to the provincial championship last fall, has been named to the U21 women’s national team, and will represent Canada at the Junior Women’s Pan American Championships in Trinidad and Tobago in late March and early April, which will serve as a qualifier for the Junior Women’s World Cup.
Fleming was summoned from the national Junior Development Squad when one of the other U21 goalies was called up to the senior national team, and will join Cowichan Secondary teammate Sara Goodman on the U21 team.
“It’s pretty amazing. I didn’t believe it at first,” Fleming said.
One of the younger players on the team, Fleming expects to serve as a backup in Trinidad, but sees this as a good opportunity for her growth as a player.
“I’ll probably be watching most of the games, but I’ll probably get some playing time,” she said. “For me, it’s more of an experience trip because I’ve never done anything like that before.”
This will be Fleming’s first time with a national team, although she has played on provincial teams the last two years in addition to her success at the high school level. She has trained with a few of the players on the U21 team, but she admitted she will be more comfortable travelling with Goodman, a relative veteran of the U21 program with a tournament in the U.S. and a tour of Chile on her resume.
“I’m happy Sara’s going as well,” Fleming said. “It will be nice to have someone else from the Cowichan Valley there.”
The trip to the Caribbean nation is almost as exciting for Fleming as representing her country on the field hockey pitch.
“I haven’t really travelled very much,” she said. “So it will be neat to go somewhere that has a completely different climate from here.”
Fleming admitted she is dealing with some nerves as she prepares for the trip, but is still looking forward to it.
“I’m definitely really nervous for it,” she said. “I’m just happy to go out and learn a lot and play the best I can. I think it will be a good experience.”