Women’s soccer may have found a gem in former high school star

Claire Ye’s versatility could key the Blues’ provincial title hopes

Carlo Javier // Editor-in-Chief

Saying that Claire Ye is versatile would be an understatement. The rookie from Coquitlam has seamlessly integrated herself with the Capilano University Blues program, already excelling as one of the women’s soccer team’s best players.

In the preseason, Ye illustrated her knack for finding the back of the net, scoring four times in three games. While her scoring spree has yet to carry over to the regular season, Ye has maintained her status as an impact player with her play on the other end of the eld. The rookie was instrumental in keeping the Douglas College Royals’ attack at bay in the Blues’ first win of the season.

Against the Vancouver Island University Mariners on Sept. 17, she helped the Blues to a draw. Ye’s excellent one-on-one coverage skills were integral to a Blues defence that allowed just one shot on goal.

For her defensive efforts, Ye was awarded the Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST) Player of the Week honour for week two of conference play. Not a bad early accomplishment for the first-year student athlete in the Early Childhood Care and Education program.

Ye’s versatility on the pitch can be attributed to years of bouncing around positions. Throughout her soccer career, the first-year has fulfilled the role that her team needed her in the most.

“With my BCSPL [BC Soccer Premier League] team, I played defence all the time just because we didn’t really have many defenders,” she said. “But with high school soccer, I played up front and I was the leading goal scorer there – here I know I can do well up front, but also I can do well in defence.”

The Capilano Blues women’s soccer team defeats Douglas College 2-1 at Capilano University on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017.

Ye’s breadth of experience in youth soccer isn’t just influential to her playstyle now, it also had an impact on her choice of university and soccer program. Through the massive soccer community in the Lower Mainland, Ye – and many other young athletes who go through local leagues – often get the opportunity to build relationships with coaches and mentors at a young age. For Ye, one connection she made at 11-years-old ultimately panned out and led her to North Vancouver.

“I’ve known Dennis [Kindel] since I was 11,” she said about the Blues head coach. While Ye cited her familiarity with Kindel as one of the main reasons for attending CapU, she also noted that Kindel’s understanding of her style and mentality were just as important. “I didn’t want to go to a new program, not know if I was going to play, then have to prove myself again,” she said. “With Dennis, I know that he knows how I play and even if I have a bad practice he knows that I can still do well.”

Although Ye’s play on the eld might make it seem like she’s encountered no issues in her transition from high school to PACWEST soccer, the rookie admits that the game and everything else that surrounds it have been vastly different. “It’s a lot more dif cult here,” she said. “Back in high school, it was only three practices a week and just one game, now it’s a double-header almost every weekend which is a lot more than I thought.”

Moreover, the speed, physicality and skill level of opposing players have provided Ye with challenges she rarely faced before. “You think you made a good play but they’ve already read it, they read it two minutes before,” she said. “The ref we had last weekend, he let everything go fouls-wise, and it’s just new, because back when we’re younger, if you get touched it’s a foul. Here you have to stick it out and be tougher.”

The campaign will only get increasingly more rigorous as the season moves forward and for the team to accomplish their goals, Ye knows that she’ll have to play not like a young a rookie, but a seasoned veteran. “My old teams, I’ve always been the captain, but coming in as a rookie, you don’t expect much, but you still want to lead by example,” she said.

This season could potentially mark a big shift in the fortunes of the Blues women’s soccer. The provincial championship is very clearly in the team’s sights and accomplishing their goals will require some high-level plays from their rookies. Ye’s swiss army knife-like versatility just might be the missing piece.

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