A Hope woman’s route to high-tier soccer has certainly been unique, compared to her teammates on the Chilliwack women’s Select A-division squad.
If 26-year-old Becca Arrowsmith had been raised in a larger centre, she probably would have played organized soccer and attended summer camps, from age 5 to adulthood, before transitioning to the Metro Women’s Soccer League.
Over the years, other players from Hope have made multiple trips per week down-valley, to play club soccer — but the Arrowsmith family chose a simpler approach.
“Basically, I only ever played drop-in soccer in Hope, since kindergarten, with Dad (Garry) and (brother) Daniel,” said Becca.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, Hope had strong attendance at twice-a-week community drop-in sessions, and Becca lapped up the opportunity to play among bigger and stronger players.
Even at age 5, I recall, she had that “it” factor, that some athletes are gifted with.
“I think it helped to be playing with adults, mostly males, to be honest,” added Becca. “But definitely, Dad helped me by always taking me and Daniel to the field and drop-in and playing in the street.
“I played in high school and then jumped to the Aldergrove selects when I was 21. I never did minor soccer or another organized league.”
Arrowsmith’s work as a volunteer firefighter in Hope got her involved in the annual “Climb the Wall” fundraiser challenge at the Wall Centre in Vancouver. She’s done it four times now, leading all female competitors and many males in the race up 48 flights of stairs.
Breathing through a Scott air pack and wearing 30 kg of gear, she can do the ascent in about 10 minutes.
This summer, the UFV kinesiology student was lead hand on a trail crew that built and maintained hiking routes in the Hope area, giving her a daily workout that helped harden her for the coming soccer season.
After five years with the Aldergrove Selects, Arrowsmith learned this spring that the club was folding, so she and teammate Alana Maier made contact with the Chilliwack club, coached by Glenn Wilson. Wilson is technical director for the near-100 teams playing under the Chilliwack Football Club banner.
“It wasn’t until Becca joined us that I realized she lived in Hope and she’d been driving past us, to play in Aldergrove,” said Wilson of his new midfielder. “We would have loved to have her here a lot sooner.
“What she has brought is a real danger on the right side of the field. When she is in possession, she’s a real handful for the other team. She’s strong and she has speed — and she delivers a great cross.
“She can also get up and down the field,” added Wilson. “She covers a lot of ground, over 90 minutes.”
Chilliwack hosted Richmond’s TSS Rovers, at Chilliwack Secondary on Sunday, November 10, allowing the visitors a bit of a comeback late in the game, before sealing the 4-2 victory, their sixth win of the season.
The Chilliwack FC women currently sit on top of the standings in their 8-team division that spans from Chilliwack to Point Grey, with a record of six wins, one draw and two losses. Arrowsmith is second in team scoring — and top-10 in the division — with four goals.
“It’s a different playing style,” said Arrowsmith of her new team. “Everyone plays for each other and it’s a super tight-knit group. There’s also a strong leadership group that helps the younger players.
“I feel like we’re getting a lot out of our practices, too. Glenn keeps them dynamic and fun — but really useful.”
The roster ranges in age from 18 to the mid-30s and Wilson is hopeful that girls currently in minor soccer (or perhaps playing street ball in Hope…) will see this team as a place to aspire to.
The next home games listed on the schedule are on Sundays at 6 p.m., December 8 and January 12 and 19, all on the Chilliwack Secondary turf field.
For schedules and stats, see mwsl.com, Select A division.