A large and exceptional recruiting class, highlighted by two local players, will round out head coach Craig Smith's Heat women's soccer team. Molly Race and Stefanie Young are the two locals joining the team as he has brought on a total of 10 new players to provide the versatility he needs to play his style of football.
Depth up and down the pitch is the theme of this year's incoming class. By position, coach Smith has brought in two keepers, six defenders, and two players that can rotate between the midfield and forward spots to bolster the lineup.
Keepers: Alexa Blouin (Surrey, BC), Molly Race (Vernon, BC)
Defenders: Sophie Campbell (White Rock, BC), Raina Kickbush (Grande Prairie, AB), Sonia Sarai (New Westminster, BC), Holly Tarves (North Vancouver, BC), Amanda White (Ottawa, ON), Stefanie Young (Kelowna, BC)
Midfielders/Forwards: Sophia Pol (Langley, BC), Alyssa Scott (North Vancouver, BC)
The class is highlighted by a pair of top-notch transfers as all but two of the 10 incoming players are straight out of high school. Both transfers, Raina Kickbush (Grande Prairie Regional College) and Stefanie Young (University of Manitoba) are amongst the deep group of backline recruits.
Heat coach Craig Smith on his incoming class:
"We are very excited to welcome in this talented group of young players. Combined with our strong group of returning players we are looking forward to seeing the program grow to new heights."
Alexa Blouin (GK)
Alexa Blouin is an athletic goalkeeper from the Surrey United club program who will push for minutes with the Heat women's soccer team in the coming years.
The 5'7" 2020 graduate of Delta's Southpointe Academy has been playing in the BCSPL with the Surrey United 2002 team for the past five years, winning the provincial club championship both in 2017 and in 2019. The 2017 team, U15 for Blouin, went on to capture first place in the Canada Soccer Toyota National championship. At U17, in 2019, Blouin and her United squad claimed the national bronze.
Headed into Earth and Environmental Science program at UBCO, Blouin, an honour roll student at Southpointe was named the team captain of the Titans soccer team in grade 12 and the named best defensive player on her team in grade 11.
Blouin on her commitment:
"I chose UBC Okanagan because of the beautiful campus, outstanding academics and the amazing atmosphere around athletics. I am excited to meet everyone and be a part of the incredible Heat culture."
Heat coach Craig Smith on Alexa Blouin:
"Alexa is a fearless young goalkeeper who brings with her terrific athleticism and shot-stopping abilities. Along with three other incoming players, Alexa comes to us from a Surrey United team who has had great success at the youth level both locally and nationally."
Sophie Campbell (F)
A proven winner comes to the Heat in the form of 5'8" fullback/winger Sophie Campbell from Surrey, B.C. Campbell is a four-time provincial cup champion with her Surrey United team. She has also captured three medals at the national level with Surrey United, including a club national championship in 2017.
In high school, the versatile playmaker also captured the Fraser Valley championship with her Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers squad, en route to a Provincial Championship silver medal this past season. Campbell was a 4.0 student at Tweedsmuir and will enter the human kinetics program with the hopes of becoming a physiotherapist or a nurse following her degree.
Campbell on her commitment:
"I chose UBCO academically because of the friendly campus, smaller class sizes, and it had the programs that I desired. Athletically, I respected the coaching staff for their welcoming attitude and style of play. Overall, I'm excited to come to UBCO, to meet new people, be a part of a new team atmosphere, and compete at the next level."
Heat coach Craig Smith on Sophie Campbell:
"Sophie is another product of the successful Surrey United youth program. She brings with her a winning mentality along with a good understanding of the game."
Raina Kickbush (D)
Transferring from Grande Prairie Regional College, Raina Kickbush will add depth on the Heat backline.
After training for multiple seasons with the Sherwood Park Phoenix Soccer club, Kickbush, who hails from Grande Prairie, elected to play her first year of post-secondary soccer with her hometown collegiate team. She enjoyed a successful run during her time with the Sherwood Park club, Kickbush and her team captured a trio of tier-one Alberta championships.
An outstanding student in her academic career to date, Kickbush will major in psychology while at UBC Okanagan. Previously, while at GPRC, she earned an academic excellence award and she was a fixture on the honour roll while at Charles Spencer High.
Kickbush on her commitment:
"I'm excited to play with a committed team and compete at the university level. The learning environment, dedicated team and staff, and the beautiful city made the choice easy. I'm thrilled to watch myself develop as an athlete while also achieving my academic goals."
Heat coach Craig Smith on Raina Kickbush:
"We look forward to Raina joining us from a great college program under the guidance of head coach Chris Morgan. In addition to her year of post secondary experience, Raina also brings with her strong defensive abilities in the duel."
Sophia Pol (M)
Another player coming to UBCO from the Surry United club is Sophia Pol. A 5'4" centre midfielder from Langley, B.C., Pol has been a standout with the Surrey club since 2016. She played on three provincial champions, in 2016, 2017, and 2019, in her time with Surrey United. That 2017 squad went on to capture the national club championship.
An honour roll student at Walnut Grove, Pol will take human kinetics at UBCO with an eye towards becoming a personal trainer following her HKIN degree.
Pol on her commitment:
"I am excited to come to UBCO, study Human Kinetics, and to have the opportunity to be a part of an amazing team and organization, while also growing as an athlete."
Heat coach Craig Smith on Sophia Pol:
"Sophia is another joining us from Surrey United. She is an outstanding decision-maker who can disrupt the opponent through her strategic positioning and passing abilities."
Molly Race (GK)
After no goalkeeper signing in last year's class, former Team B.C. standout and local product Molly Race will look to make an instant impact between the posts for the Heat. The 5'8" netminder from Vernon has started for the provincial team for the past two seasons, and has competed around the world with her Thompson Okanagan Football Club. A graduate of W.L. Seaton Secondary, Race will enter the management program following an academic run at high school littered with honour rolls and principals' list recognitions.
Race on her commitment:
"I'm super excited to become a Heat athlete. UBCO is one of the top universities in Canada, the campus is beautiful and the business programs are great. The women's soccer team plays an exceptional style that suits me well. All of my teammates are great people to be around and I cannot wait to work hard on the field and in the classroom."
Heat coach Craig Smith on Molly Race:
"Molly is an outstanding local product coming to us from Thompson Okanagan Football Club. She is a fantastic shot stopper with the ability to distribute well, both from her feet and hands."
Sonia Sarai (D)
Sonia Sarai will add depth to the UBCO backline as the 5'6" New Westminster, B.C. product comes to the Heat as an accomplished fullback. Playing the sport of soccer since she was just four years old, Sarai, has honed her skills with two of the top club programs in the Lower Mainland. First, she played with Coastal FC from 2014-18, since then Sarai has most recently patrolled the backline for Surrey United. She played at the national club championships with both teams, in 2017 her Coastal FC team came home with the national title. Last year, in 2019, her Surrey United squad grabbed a national bronze medal.
At New Westminster Secondary, Sarai was an honour roll student all through high school. In 2018 she was a key member of the Hyaks backline that surprised BC soccer by qualifying for the provincial championship. At UBCO, the right-footed Sarai, will be enrolled in the management program with post-graduate plans of attending law school.
Sarai on her commitment:
"I am so excited to grow with a new team and challenge myself with this Heat team that has an amazing group of players and coaches. The school's location is also beautiful and has a great academic reputation."
Heat coach Craig Smith on Sonia Sarai:
"Another standout from Surrey United, Sonia comes to us with the ability to remain calm while building up out of pressure."
Alyssa Scott (M)
Alyssa Scott grew up in a family that knows what it takes to be a university athlete. Both of her parents played varsity sports at SFU, and the incoming UBCO centre midfielder will use that knowledge to her advantage as she bolsters the Heat's depth in the middle of the pitch.
A multi-sport athlete at Notre Dame Regional Secondary, Scott not only excelled at soccer but she also played basketball and field hockey with her Jugglers. In her grade 12 year, Scott earned the team's MVP award in all three sports culminating in earning the school's athlete of the year award.
Always on the honour roll at Notre Dame, she also earned principal's list standing in both her grade 10 and 12 years. Her achievements in athletics and academics earned Scott the prestigious Notre Dame education committee scholarship award. Nicknamed 'Scotty', the member of the Mountain United Football Club will enter UBCO as a science student with a desire to eventually enter medical school.
Scott has been with Mountain United for the past two years, prior to that she trained with North Shore Soccer Club for 12 years where she claimed multiple metro provincial championships.
Scott on her commitment:
"I'm looking forward to growing and learning together as a team and achieving success in the classroom and on the field. I chose UBCO academically because of its stellar academic standing, and I chose it athletically because of coach Craig's [Smith] positive attitude toward developing not just the player but the person."
Heat coach Craig Smith on Alyssa Scott:
"Alyssa comes to us from another great youth program – Mountain United. Alyssa has a great ability to provide scoring from midfield and consistently looks to break lines and provide late runs into the box."
Holly Tarves (D)
A multi-sport athlete who likes to spend time on the pitch, defender Holly Tarves will join the Heat after completing a celebrated soccer and field hockey career at Handsworth Secondary.
The 5'6" Tarves represented her province in both of the aforementioned sports. In field hockey, she was on the Team BC squad that won a national championship in 2017. In soccer, she was a part of the provincial high performance program from 2017 through 2019.
Playing her club soccer with the prestigious Mountain United program, the product of North Vancouver trained and played with that club for seven seasons. With Mountain United, Tarves was named the player of distinction in 2017, in 2018 they were BCSPL champions.
Tarves, who plans on becoming a teacher, will enter the faculty of arts at UBCO and then transfer into education.
Tarves on her commitment:
"I am very excited to compete for the Heat soccer team because I really like the style of soccer that they play, and the challenge of developing my skills at the university level. The coach's [Craig Smith] philosophy of developing good people as well as good soccer players, is something that really appealed to me. Another great feature is that UBCO is a smaller campus with small class sizes, and I've heard that the education program is excellent.
Heat coach Craig Smith on Holly Tarves:
"Holly joins teammate Alyssa [Scott] from Mountain United as recruits this year, and we are excited to add her ability of driving out of the back and accurate distribution."
Amanda White (D)
Amanda White is another multi-sport athlete in this year's class, and she is the lone recruit in 2020 who hails from outside of Western Canada. Coming to UBCO from Ottawa, Ont., White is a 5'2" fullback who won't shy away from contact while manning the Heat backline. At Longfields Davidson Heights Secondary School, White played rugby sevens, futsol, and touch football throughout high school as well as soccer. Success on all fronts for White, as her Raven's managed top-6 finishes in the city of Ottawa at different points of her high school career in all those sports.
With her club teams, the West Ottawa Showcase and the West Ottawa Elite, she played up an age group throughout her youth soccer career.
White will enter the human kinetics program at UBCO come September, with the goal of becoming a physiotherapist.
White on her commitment:
"I absolutely loved the team and the coaches, Craig [Smith] and Carli [Tingstad, UBCO lead assistant coach]. I love the style of play that Craig coaches. I also wanted to go to a good academic school and I know any UBC campus offers a great education. I can't wait to play the proper type of soccer with a great group of girls and coaching staff"
Heat coach Craig Smith on Amanda White:
"Amanda comes to us from Ottawa as a strong defender who loves to get involved in the attacking phase of the game."
Stefanie Young (D)
Returning to her home school, Stefanie Young will transfer to UBCO from the University of Manitoba and join her brother as a player on a Heat soccer team.
A 2019 graduate of Okanagan Mission Secondary, Young left the Okanagan out of high school and joined the Bisons women's soccer team. Her brother, Spencer, a 2016 graduate of OKM, has played two seasons with the Heat men's squad.
Young was outstanding in her rookie year with the Bisons, her efforts earned her a spot on the Canada West All-Rookie team. Her 11 points (five goals, six assists) ranked sixth among all players in Canada West, and the freshman defender started all 14 matches for Manitoba.
Young was a dual sport star with the Huskies, and both her soccer and basketball teams competed at the B.C. high school provincial championships with her on the squad. Outside of high school sports, Young trained and competed with the Thompson Okanagan Football Club (TOFC) for seven years, from 2013-2019.
A strong student, Young landed on the OKM principal's list in grades 10 through 12. Enrolled in the human kinetics program at UBCO, the left-footed Young has her eyes set on becoming a physiotherapist or even further into sports medicine.
Young on her commitment:
"I am super excited to attend UBCO and play soccer for the Heat. To have my family and friends have the opportunity to watch me play is special. I feel very fortunate to be able to attend the same university and play the same sport as my brother Spencer. He has always been a huge role model for me, both as a person as well as a soccer player. To be able to share our athletic journey together is something that I am beyond grateful for."
"I chose UBCO because it is one of the top schools academically and I felt that it would be a great place to challenge myself in the classroom while earning a degree. As far as athletics go, growing up in Kelowna I have always watched and supported both the men and women's teams. While playing with TOFC I had the opportunity to be coached by Carli [Tingstad, UBCO lead assistant coach] and Craig [Smith], so I felt having a familiar coaching staff that knew me as a person and a player would greatly benefit my development as an athlete."
Heat coach Craig Smith on Stefanie Young:
"We are excited to welcome Stefanie back to Kelowna. Stefanie can play a number of positions and she provides us with great balance being left-footed. She has great passing range and can also provide secondary scoring."
2020 Incoming Class