Brooklynn Doucette // Columnist
Currently, I’m on my fifth-year as a midfield/forward on the Capilano University Women’s Soccer team. Although, my journey to becoming a varsity athlete has been unconventional. When I was in high school, Capilano University wasn’t even on my radar. I had hoped to play at schools like the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University and even some universities in Ontario. It wasn’t until I was faced with a major roadblock that I had to re-evaluate my options.
In 2015, I tore my right ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) during practice with my BCSPL (BC Soccer Premier League) soccer team. This injury is common for female soccer players, and many of my past and current teammates have had to go through knee surgery to repair it. Unfortunately, an ACL tear requires invasive surgery and takes approximately a year of recovery before being admitted back into sport. Having this injury in my senior year of high school meant that I wouldn’t be able to play university soccer for an entire season. This was a devastating realization. To top it off, like my ability to play, interest from all the big schools I was hoping to attend came to a sudden halt. No one wanted to sign a player with a torn ACL.
Then, an opportunity at Capilano University became available when the head coach of my BCSPL team became the new head coach of the Capilano Blues Women’s Soccer team. I decided that it would be the best fit for me to attend Cap where I could undergo my rehab close to home while spending time bonding with the team until I was fully ready to play again. Thus, my journey as a Capilano Blue began.
In my first two years on the Capilano Women’s Soccer team I was primarily focused on rebuilding my knee. I wasn’t able to play my freshman year, so it wasn’t until 2016 that I played my first game as a Capilano Blue. The first year at Cap was difficult because I was facing a sense of ostracization. I wasn’t technically on the team roster, but I was still attending all of the games and most of the practices. I was in this weird in-between position, and it made me feel very alone. Once I was fully recovered from my injury and entering my second year, I finally began to feel like I was part of the team. I made new friends, and got to play in my first soccer game since high school. In 2016, our team won the bronze medal in the PACWest finals.
It wasn’t until my third and fourth years at Capilano that I started to really excel. I was able to find my groove on the soccer field, and I had completely overcome my injury. I was awarded the Scholar Athlete of the Year Award for both the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and I also won several other academic and athletic awards. For the 2018 season, I was named a PACWest All-Star and became a CCAA Academic All Canadian Award Winner. In both 2017 and 2018, the Blues Women’s Soccer team finished with silver medals. Even though I’m disappointed that we haven’t been able to clench that first-place title, I’m proud of all that we have accomplished as a team and individually as student-athletes.
As I begin my fifth and final year at Capilano, I can reflect on how much this school and the entire Women’s Soccer program has impacted my university experience. I could have stuck with my original plan to play at a bigger university, but I probably wouldn’t have gotten much playing time. In fact, all of the girls that I played BCSPL soccer with that did attend large universities for soccer, no longer play at all. Since being a Capilano Blue, my teammates have turned into life-long friends. I’ve been lucky enough to compete against other great players and grow as an athlete. I’ve challenged myself to be better and have worked to improve every year. I’ve grown as an athlete and as a student over the last four years. I went from being an injured player to a league All-Star. To finally complete my university career, I hope to help my team win first place in the league and earn a trip to Nationals. Although my soccer journey took me through roadblocks and turmoil, I’m extremely grateful to have ended up at Capilano. I hope that as I move on from the Capilano Women’s Soccer team, that the program continues to allow players to live out their dreams as successful varsity athletes.