author: elisabeth sahlmueller | staff writer
Last year’s Cougars in action / Nathan McCarville
Trio to suit up for soccer team
Ten new members will join the women’s soccer team in the upcoming 2019 season and, so far,,the first three of those individuals have been announced. These new recruits include Micah Sollid, Shayla Lukey and Ally Schneider. These three women are a welcome addition to the team and will experience their first action as official team members this summer during non–conference competition.
This all–star Saskatoon trio have years of soccer experience, especially Lukey and Sollid who have been playing soccer since they were three and five, as well as an incredible amount of passion for the sport. The speed of play, physicality, friendship and the competitive environment, as well as the unique way the team has to work together are some of the reasons why this is such an enjoyable sport for these women. Sollid also loves the challenges and lessons involved in soccer.
“I love how it challenges me physically and mentally and has taught me many life skills that I use every day,” said Sollid.
It is this experience and passion combined with hard work and dedication which has enabled all three to become the talented soccer players they are and gain both recognition and attention, not just locally, but also within the larger soccer community which resulted in them being offered a position on the Cougar’s soccer team.
According to Bob Maltmann, the team’s head coach, this recruitment process was a lengthy one that began three years ago, once he had heard about these three women through a combination of direct observation in training and matches, together with feedback from their coaching staff. From there, he talked with [both] the athlete and her family to gain a sense of her goals as an athlete and student and also shared the team’s philosophy and direction. Since these meetings went smoothly, the recruitment process advanced and the individuals were signed to the team.
For Sollid, Lukey and Schneider, this process began when they were in grade eleven. Although it may have taken a long time to complete, as Lukey explained, it was rather “quite simple.”
“They told me they wanted me on the team and then later invited my family and I down for a visit and talked about the options I could have with them. Later on, I was signed.”
Sollid and Schneider also had a similar experience, but they mentioned touring the campus, meeting the coaching staff and training with the team.
As an athlete, choosing what team to play for is an important decision and for the female trio, this was an easy choice, as they had all heard about the Cougars soccer team earlier on through previous training, participating in their ID camps, or simply watching them play from a young age. However, the primary factor that drew in all three women was the team’s atmosphere and top class environment, as Sollid, Lukey and Schneider pointed out the energy of the team and their dedication to being the best, how the girls all get along as one unit, and how everyone is so welcoming and truly cares about your future as an athlete.
Each of these athletes has tried multiple other positions throughout their years playing soccer, but it is their current position which they have always returned to. Sollid plays fullback, an important defensive position which she enjoys.
“I love how I can join the attack, be creative in my movements, and have a major defending responsibility. I like being part of building the ball from the back and being able to attack and assist [with] goals.”
A striker is Shayla Lukey’s preferred position. She enjoys getting to score goals and being on the attacking side where you have more room for creativity and taking on players one on one.
Last, but not least, is Ally Schneider, who is joining the team as a central midfielder, which she too really enjoys.
“I can play both a defending and attacking role in the game and being in the centre allows [me to take advantage of] major connections [within] the team [allowing] us to break lines and [move] forward.”
With the soccer season quickly approaching, all three women are busy, as Sollid stated, “getting ready in any way [they] can.” This preparation is both physical and mental, involving training on the field to practise and improve skills, working tirelessly in the gym to improve overall strength and fitness, as well as setting goals to achieve before and during [the] season and watching videos about the game.
When asked about their goals for the season, both the player trio as well, as head coach, Maltmann, expressed a main desire to qualify for the playoffs. Maltmann is also confident that the team will not only finish within the top half of its league standings, but also compete in Canada West Finals because of the skills, hard work, determination and mindset both current and future players have demonstrated.
Additionally, Schneider wants “to score as many goals as possible, be a strong leader on and off of the field and be the player nobody wants to play against.” Sollid wants “to improve both technically and tactically and push [her] teammates to be the best they can be” and is not just very excited for the season, but also grateful [she] can be a part of it.
One thing is clear; if all the other recruits have the same positive attitude, dedication, enthusiasm and passion about soccer as Sollid, Lukey and Schneider do, then this will undoubtedly be both a stellar and successful season for the Cougar’s Women’s soccer team.