Carihi’s Abbie Simms has signed on to play with the Thompson Rivers University women’s soccer Wolfpack after playing forward with the Upper Island Riptide.

Thompson Rivers WolfPack women’s soccer get caught in “Riptide” while recruiting

Interior varsity squad plucks three prospects from Upper Island Riptide

Being caught in a ‘Riptide’ is not a good thing usually.

For the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack women’s soccer program, it has proven to be something positive.

The WolfPack and head coach Kelly Shantz have looked to Vancouver Island to sign three members of the Upper Island Riptide U-18 rep team.

Forward Abbie Simms, center midfield Camryn Curts and center back Olivia Bates of the Riptide have become the WolfPack’s third, fourth and fifth recruit signings for the 2017 Canada West season.

Simms attends Carihi Secondary in Campbell River while Bates goes to G.P. Vanier Secondary and Curts will graduate from Mark R. Isfeld Secondary both in Courtenay.

“It was a happy surprise,” said Shantz as he recalled how he first saw the three play. “I was at a Starfire Showcase in November. There were five or six Canadian teams along with the U.S. clubs. I watched the Upper Island Riptide. I was initially looking at just one player but then saw they had four or five potential USport athletes.”

Simms is a 5’8” forward who is described by Shantz as a hard worker.

“She is one of those kids you hope develops. She works so hard. She loves the game. She is passionate about the sport. Constantly working out to improve. She works her tail off out there. She has great foot skills and speed and has a good sense around the ball. She will need to refine her touch around the ball and skill base to compete for a full time job for five years with our team. She’s up for the task though.”

The WolfPack coach compares her to alumni Shantelle Cooper and Abby McAuley.

“They knew they had to work hard for the full 90 minutes to compete. They were always engaged and focused on the game when they even didn’t have the ball. She is very similar to them.”

“I think Kelly’s philosophy is really great,” said Simms, who is undecided about what she will take at Thompson Rivers. “He told me how he pushes his players. I think that is important and that is what I am looking for in a coach.”

After signing six players who came from one team—the Kamloops Youth Soccer Association U-18 squad—last summer, the obvious comparisons to recruiting ‘in bulk’ from the same organization has to be broached. Is this déjà vu all over again?

“With smaller communities, there are pockets of talented athletes in the same age group occasionally,” Shantz explains. “So there is some déjà vu. It is fun for them (the players too). Three of them will come to training camp and school and experience coming to a new city, a new team and a new school together.

“That will help them adjust for sure.”

Shantz says the fact the three have played together since they were 12 years old will instantly establish a chemistry if they wind up on the field at the same time. “That might not happen as freshmen, but having that experience can only help if it occurs.”

“We have always clicked,” Bates said. “We work really well together and have great communication.”

Simms also felt it’s a ‘happy coincidence’ that the three teammates and friends wound up in Kamloops and TRU together.

– Courtesy TRU WolfPack Athletics