When I was learning to walk, my dad says I’d throw myself on the ground when I got excited about something. A full-stretch dive – when I was just a toddler!
Like most kids, I started playing soccer in kindergarten, with my friends at recess.
I started playing organized soccer at age 6. Because I was tall and fast for my age, I liked to play striker. I scored a lot of goals! Everyone took turns being in the net.
When I was eight, I watched the World Cup for the first time. I thought Fabien Barthez was amazing, so I spent more time playing in goal. The next summer, my dad and I built a mini-goal in the backyard, and my friends took turns shooting on me. I was hooked!
By about U10, I was in goal all the time. That was good, because no one on my team wanted to be goalkeeper.
For a while my family had a tenant who was an elite soccer player, about 18 years old. I loved it when he took shots on me – he shot really hard! I didn’t mind that he broke my wrist once. As soon as it healed I went back in goal.
In U11, I went to a big tournament in Kamloops. I won player of the match once or twice that weekend. We made it to the finals against an awesome team a year older than us. We lost … in penalty kicks. It was sad, but really fun because I made some big saves.
After that I started training with Island Keeper Clinic, which is run by Shel Brodsgaard, who was a pro player and then coached the Canadian national team goalkeepers. His number one assistant coach is Bob Stankov, who played for the Edmonton Aviators in the old Canadian Soccer League. “Big Daddy” Bobby (6’7” and 240lbs!) is still my main coach.
One of the highlights of my life was taking a soccer trip in 2007 to the Netherlands. Our team played 21 games in 11 days, and I trained with Wouter van Voorthuizen of FC Feyenoord.
The next year I went to Germany with the BC provincial team. We trained next to Fenerbahce of the Turkish Super Lig one day, and the next day there was the German national U17 girls team. Awesome!
In 2008 I did one-week professional trials at Sheffield Wednesday and Dundee FC. Dundee asked me back for the summer of 2009. At the end of that summer they offered me a two-year professional apprenticeship when I turn 17 in 2010.
I'm in Canada now while I wait to go back to the UK this summer. I go to a soccer high school in Victoria and play soccer six days a week, 12 months of the year …
… and I still love it!!