Teammates for several years with the Sardis Falcons soccer squad, Meghan Rose and Yasmina Enneddam are now set to take drastically different paths.
Both are making the leap to the university level, but their destinations couldn’t be more different.
The next step for Rose isn’t a big one at all, geographically speaking.
She has committed to the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades.
“The Chilliwack campus is really close to home, like right across the street,” she said. “I wanted to stay home. I didn’t want to leave my family and I didn’t want to leave my cats.”
Megan has two of them, and cats being cats they’re probably completely ambivalent to whether she stays or goes as long as the food dish is consistently filled.
Fortunately they’re not the only reason she’s chosen UFV.
“They’ve always done really well in their league and I’m excited that I’m going to be on that team, meeting new people and still playing soccer.”
Yasmina Enneddam has no problem leaving home. Her next soccer stop isn’t in this province or even this country. She is going to cowboy country to join the Rocky Mountain College Battlin’ Bears. The RMC campus fills 60 acres in Billings, MT.
“We never went on vacations when I was growing up any farther than Vancouver, so I thought this was maybe a good chance to get out of dodge,” Yasmina said, already using the language of a small-town Montana sheriff.
Yasmina blasted emails and video clips to approximately 40 division one and two programs all over the United States. She reached out to Canadian schools as well, but the response rate was low, and for a while she was convinced she would have nowhere to play.
“Once you’re in your Grade 12 year, if you don’t already have colleges talk to you, there’s a very, slim chance you’re going to get any kind of financially beneficial scholarship,” she explained. “Schools in the United States start recruiting really early and I was really late to the game. That’s part of why I didn’t get any answers to my emails.
“I cried at one point because I was so discouraged, but in the end I got one!”
Meghan didn’t sweat the recruiting process nearly as much. Because she wanted to stay local she didn’t need to send video to coaches in far-off places.
In the end, all it took was one call.
“I contacted UFV first and asked him (Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht) to come out to one of my games, and he did,” she explained. “He messaged me afterwards, said I did good and wanted me to come out to a practice.
“At first I was really nervous because I thought they were all going to be way better than me, but I’ve been to three or four practices since and I fit really well.
“They’re all really nice too.”
Meghan knows her shot is next-level good and her physical style will play well against university foes. In high school games she routinely goes through or around two or three defenders and is at her best when she is initiating contact.
“I love being physical because it gets your anger out,” she said with a smile. “I think my opponents might describe me as vicious.”
Giesbrecht is a really honest coach who will tell it like it is, but not in a bad way. The one concern he’s expressed to Rose is a common one with young players.
“He said the preseason will be really hard for me because I have to get my fitness up,” Meghan said. “Trying to keep up with the other players at that level is a bit intimidating and the thing I’m most worried about, but once I get that he said I’ll be good.
Yasmina doesn’t shy away from contact, but her game is built around her wheels, her skill and her determination.
When she did her campus visit to RMC she participated in a Battlin’ Bears practice and didn’t feel out of place at all.
“It wasn’t easy, but I didn’t have any trouble keeping up and I thought I actually surpassed some of them,” she said. “It was really fun!
“I’m loud and vocal, with this take-no-s—t attitude that coaches seem to like. I can play multiple spots too, so coaches know it’s easy to move me all over the field and I’ll still fight for the ball and play with the same enthusiasm wherever I am.
Meghan and Yasmina are both finishing her third seasons in the Sardis secondary Soccer For Life program, working with coaches Richard Tagle and Shaun Calver.
Calver has no doubt they’ll succeed at the next level and hopes to see more and more players following in their foosteps.
“Our goal is to instill a passion for soccer for students regardless of their ability level and the Soccer For Life class allows students to foster their desire to play the sport,” he said. “We have created partnerships with universities in both Canada and the U-S and several of our current students have been flown out this year to attend trials with different universities.
“We hope to increase the number of students who move on to post secondary schools for soccer in the future.”