You only get better by playing against the best.
Utilizing that philosophy, a number of members of the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack women’s soccer team – including Campbell River’s Emily Bailey – kept their skills sharp and bettered them by being members of the Kamloops Heat this summer.
Under the direction of long time WolfPack assistant coach Kelly Shantz, the 14 players were part of a team which competed in the Pacific Coast Soccer League Premier women’s division.
“We had an excellent year,” said Shantz. “The PCSL Premier division is possibly the toughest open division in the country for amateur women’s soccer. There were 12 teams, all of them good, several outstanding. We set goals to start the year: take it seriously, work hard, play to win, have fun and making the playoffs. Honestly, I didn’t think we would make the playoffs in our first year.”
The Heat finished fifth in the regular season and after one of the higher placed teams bowed out of the post season, were slotted into fourth where they lost to the eventual league champion Faser Valley Action in the semi finals. It was a match decided on penalty kicks.
Shantz said the WolfPack players all made strides under his tutelage over the past few months.
“As you’d expect,” he said. “The players who were red shirts with TRU in 2011 had the biggest learning curve trying to keep up while the roster players and starters fit into the pace of play quicker. No doubt though that they all got noticeably better as the year progressed.
“I know the girls who were red shirts or didn’t play a lot last year: Kristy Seaby, Layne Kraushe, Courtney Dennill and Emily Bailey helped themselves a great deal with all the extra work they did.”