This is part of a series about Comox Valley student athletes who are moving onto the next level in their sport.
Several graduates of the Upper Island Riptide soccer program have moved onto the varsity level of university women’s soccer. Olivia Bates, Abbie Simms, Danielle Robertson and Camryn Curts all started their rookie season last fall at Thompson Rivers University. Curts, a midfielder, was a finalist in the newcomer-of-the-year category for TRU.
Though it was a tough season for the young squad, Robertson was happy to receive plenty of playing time in goal. She even earned a shutout in a road victory over Saskatchewan.
“It was kind of like a moment where we realized all the work we had put in as a team was paying off and we could feel ourselves starting to click,” said Robertson, who started playing soccer with Comox Valley United (CVUSC) at age four. “We started to really improve and play well together after that win.”
As a goalie, she says it can be difficult to let go of mistakes and maintain focus during a game — so having old teammates and long-time friends at TRU was a huge boost on and off the pitch.
“Next year will be another challenge for us because we are still so young, but I think we are well prepared and can expect to see a lot of improvement off of last year and hopefully some positive results.”
Another Riptide alumnus, Chloe Gummer, opted to stay on Vancouver Island. While still attending Highland Secondary, she had her eyes set on the Vancouver Island University women’s soccer team in Nanaimo, where a couple of Riptide teammates had played. An academic scholarship sealed the deal.
The 19-year-old striker — a leading goal-scorer during her time with the Riptide in the Vancouver Island Premier League — has played two seasons with the Mariners. She wasted no time making her mark. Three weeks into her first season, Gummer scored five goals in six games to lead all scorers in the Pacific Western Athletic Association. She scored a hat-trick against defending champion Douglas College in her first game, and earned PACWEST Female Soccer Athlete of the Week honours. She finished the year with six goals and an all-star selection.
Although this year’s team has lost a couple of key players — including Valley product Katie Rodgers — Gummer said there are plenty of strong incoming players who “will be great additions to the roster and will help fill in some of the losses.
“I don’t necessarily foresee more playing time so much as I anticipate playing in different positions where needed,” Gummer said. “I’m really keen on helping the newer players feel comfortable and welcome on the team, and being a leader in that sense, on and off the field.”
“Chloe will certainly be a very important member of the team again this year,” Mariners coach Kevin Lindo said.
“She is a great role model for what will be a very young team with eight new players.”