KELOWNA, B.C. –
Outstanding contributions off the field and a remarkable third-year season in net have earned Nicholas Reitsma the Canada West men's soccer Student-Athlete Community Service award for the 2019-20 season.
To win the student-athlete community service award from the conference—one of three major awards in men's soccer for student-athletes—a student must have outstanding achievements in three areas: soccer, academics and community involvement.
Reitsma's standout season as the Heat goalkeeper started with his durability. The Human Kinetics major started all 16 matches for UBCO and he was on the field for every minute of every game.
That effort helped him share the conference lead in minutes played with 1,440. He also led the conference in save percentage at .791 and his six shutouts were good for third in Canada West. Those six clean sheets represent the second-highest single-season total in UBCO history, and his six wins and 68 saves this year are both new single-season school records.
In the classroom, Reitsma has also excelled—earning Academic All-Canadian status in 2018-19 and he is well on his way to repeating that feat this season.
Fiery and in charge as UBCO a keeper , Reitsma likes to talk to his backline the entire match in an effort to communicate what he sees from the far end of the pitch.
It's that gift of communication, that helps Reitsma finds his passion while helping in the community.
A strong believer in spreading the word on mental health issues, the Aberdeen Hall graduate has taken it upon himself to spread his own message about his mental health struggles with the goal of providing support for those in a similar position.
To spread the word, Reitsma has spoken at local schools, been a featured speaker at Heat varsity games, and has been asked numerous times to speak at fundraising dinners and events. One video during the campaign[UO1] has achieved more than 40,000 views on social media.
The Heat coaching staff could not be more proud of their keeper.
"We as a staff are very happy that Nich [Nicholas Reitsma] has been recognized for his work in the community while balancing being an AAC and a varsity athlete," said Reitsma's head coach Dante Zanatta. "We are not sure how he finds the time for all that he does, but we are extremely proud that he is a member of our program. We applaud that he is active and making a difference during his time away from school and the pitch."
Along with sharing his mental health message, Reitsma has also volunteered at Kelowna General Hospital in multiple roles, including operating a mobile library cart. And he continues to help spread his love of soccer with local youth teams, working with kids ranging in age from 8-18 with Kelowna United and the Central Okanagan Soccer Association.
This is just the second major Canada West award earned by a UBCO student-athlete. Last spring Jordan Korol won the Sylvia Sweeney Award as the student-athlete community service in women's basketball, the only other major conference award.
Reitsma will go on and be the CW nominee for the U SPORTS national community service award. For the other Canada West major award winners and for the conferences media release you can click here.
List of Canada West Major award winner for UBC Okanagan:
2019/20: Nicholas Reitsma - Community Service Award (MSOC)
2018/19: Jordan Korol - Community Service Award (WBB)
2015/16: Steve Manuel - Coach of the Year (WVB)
2012/13: Steve Manuel - Coach of the Year (WVB)
UBC Okanagan has now earned 3 Canada West major awards since it joined the Canada West Universities Athletic Association in September of 2011 with basketball and volleyball. Soccer started competing in Canada West in the fall of 2014, Cross Country in 2018 and Golf in 2019. UBCO has also competed in the Canada West Women's Rugby Sevens Series in 2019 and will do so again in 2020.
⚽️ MSOC AWARDS— Canada West (@CanadaWest) October 30, 2019
Player of the Year: Koch, @uvicvikes
Coach: Gyaki, @MRUCougars
Rookie: Domic, @MRUCougars
Student-Athlete Community Service: Reitsma, @UBCOHeat
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