Chilliwack soccer star Jordyn Huitema coming home for the holidays

Chilliwack soccer star Jordyn Huitema coming home for the holidays

After a crazy-good year with the Canadian national soccer program, the teenager deserves a break.

It’s safe to say that no Chilliwack soccer player has ever enjoyed the type of success Jordyn Huitema experienced in 2018.

The latest accolade for the teenager came last week when she was named one of Canada Soccer’s Youth International Players of the Year.

That on the heels of captaining Canada’s U-17 squad to its best ever placing (fourth) at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.

And that on the heels of a breakout performance with the Canadian senior women’s team at CONCACAF World Cup qualifying — including a four goal game against Cuba.

It’s impossible to pump the brakes on the hype now as people start attaching ‘the future of Canadian women’s soccer’ to Huitema’s name.

Home in Chilliwack last week accept a commendation from MP John Martin and visit with friends and family, the 17 year old flashed her trademark ear-to-ear smile as she talked about the year that was.

“I enjoy the memories you create on and off the field,” Huitema said. “The whole Canadian (soccer) environment — the players are amazing and the culture is so enjoyable, you can’t help but smile.

“You need to find joy in every moment because they don’t last very long. It’s gone within the blink of an eye and if you play without a smile on your face, do you really love the game?”

If that sounds surprisingly reflective and a touch melancholy, it’s because Huitema has just said goodbye to a big part of her life.

She played her last game as a U-17 player Dec. 1 in Uruguay, a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to New Zealand in the bronze-medal match.

“The first time I ever felt a door shut for me was when I was too old to play for the U-15 team, and now the U-17 door shuts too and it feels weird,” she said. “But, and I know it’s cliche, whenever a door shuts a new one opens. It’s a sign that I’m progressing. The fact that I ever was a U-17 player in the first place is really cool, and now it’s about the seniors and the U-20s.

“I’m happy knowing there’s more for me. There’s bigger things to come.”

Huitema thrives under the glare of the spotlight, having people watch her every move on the soccer pitch.

With each game that spotlight shines brighter and brighter.

More and more people are viewing her as the next big thing in Canadian women’s soccer, and she’s embracing it.

“I’ve never been a person who shied away from big crowds and big moments, and I just think of it as an opportunity that I need to grab,” she reasoned. “I think I’ve done quite a bit, achieved quite a lot for the amount of time I’ve been playing, but it’s about not getting content and not stopping because there’s work to be done.

“I have the potential to be what people think I can be, but there’s a lot I need to be doing to reach that.”

That said, it’s nice to pull back once in a while.

It’s easy to forget that she’s still in high school, balancing the typical concerns of a teenager with the jet-setting life of an international soccer star.

You couldn’t blame her if she sometimes feels like a boat being tossed around in a storm, and that’s why she loves coming home.

“My family has been so supportive and they’re the ones I think of as my life-raft in the storm,” Huitema said. “They’re the ones who continue to lift me up. If I reach any point where I hit a rough patch and I’m having a hard time, they’re the ones to re-focus me on what I’ve done and what I need to do.”

Christmas in the Huitema household will be ‘super chill,’ which she loves.

“Life is so busy that when you finally get to relax, it’s amazing,” she said.

Huitema has no greater wish right than to spend some quality time with her parents and siblings before she dives into another crazy year.

“I always come home on the weekends whenever I’m in the country to see my family and my friends, and what I love most is that they treat you like a normal person,” she said. “As that spotlight grows everywhere else in my life, it shrinks in my family and friends group because they see me for who I am, and not what I’ve done.

Huitema actually has one more wish, and here’s hoping this article helps make it happen.

“My uncle makes this really good casserole with potatoes and cheese and stuff,” she said. “But I haven’t had that in a few years.So get on it Uncle Tyler!”

eric.welsh@theprogress.com

Just Posted

Rohan arul-Pragasam, Chilliwack School District’s interim superintendent, has been appointed superintendent of schools effective June 15, 2021. (Chilliwack School District)
Interim position becomes permanent for Rohan Arul-pragasam at Chilliwack School District

Arul-pragasam said he was ‘humbled to continue as a steward’ in new role as superintendent of schools

PlanCultus was adopted in 2017 as a guiding document for Cultus Lake Park. (Cultus Lake Park Board)
More affordable housing options could be coming to Cultus Lake Park

Online survey opened on June 14 to gauge opinion on plaza redevelopment eyed for Village Centre

The Abbotsford International Airshow is back for 2021 with the ‘SkyDrive’ concept.
Abbotsford International Airshow returns for 2021 with ‘SkyDrive’

New format features a drive-in movie type experience, show set for Aug. 6 to 8

A young couple walks through the Othello Tunnels just outside of Hope. (Jessica Peters/Black Press)
Hope’s Othello Tunnels fully open to the public

Geological testing proved the area safe enough to open for the first time in more than a year

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

Most Read