Abbotsford – The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer program has wrapped up its 2020 recruiting class, adding four new signees.
Sidney Elliott (Powell River, B.C.), Madisen Cruz (Chestermere, Alta.), Jiya Kaila (Surrey, B.C.) and Lucia Zecca (Coquitlam, B.C.) join four previously announced recruits to comprise the Cascades’ 2020 recruiting class.
5’6” forward/midfielder, Powell River, B.C.
Upper Island Riptide
Elliott is a relatively under-the-radar recruit from the metro soccer ranks on the Sunshine Coast, and UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht loves her athleticism and upside. She helped her Brooks Thunderbirds high school team to a B.C. championship berth in 2019, netting a seventh-place finish and the team sportsmanship award. On the club scene, her Upper Island Riptide squad took bronze in the Provincial ‘A’ Cup in 2018.
“Sidney is a great athlete, and she has an assertive attacking mentality,” Giesbrecht said. “She’s a forward who can play out wide, and she trained with us a couple times in the spring and did very well. She’s a good student with high athletic character, and we’re looking forward to having her.”
“I chose UFV because it felt like the right fit for me,” said Elliott, who plans to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. “Once I visited the campus, I could immediately see myself at the school. I have lived in a small town for most of my life and wanted to switch things up in terms of location. It also has a great criminology program which is something I am fascinated with, along with other components like sociology, psychology and Canadian law.
“My goal would be to really make an impact playing with the team, on and off the field. I have always bonded well with past teammates and I am hoping to make a lifelong connection with my future ones.”
5’3” forward, Chestermere, Alta.
Calgary Foothills Soccer Club
St. Gabriel the Archangel School
Cruz epitomizes the multisport athlete template – at her high school, she competed in basketball, volleyball, badminton, track and field, and cross-country running as well as soccer. On the soccer pitch, she helped her club team win a provincial title at the U14 level, and has been part of numerous podium performances at tournaments throughout Western Canada and the United States. She has a nose for the net, racking up 80 goals across all club and school competitions since 2017.
“Madisen plays on one of the top clubs in Canada, but she played on their second team because she has so many other commitments as a multisport athlete,” Giesbrecht noted. “She’s athletic, and she’s got a lot of upside for soccer. She’s a pacey forward, and she did well in training sessions with our team.”
“I chose UFV because I always saw myself leaving home and going to an institution that has the programs that I would like,” said Cruz, who plans to enrol in kinesiology. “UFV is also a small campus that is still large enough to offer variety and small class sizes.
“I would like to try my best to be part of the starting 11 on the soccer team or being part of the travel roster. I would like to play more minutes than a regular first-year would, which would involve hard work and commitment which is always part of my lifetime goal of never giving up and always strive to do more.”
5’7” forward/midfielder, Surrey, B.C.
Surrey United SC
Fraser Heights Secondary
Kaila is a productive offensive player who has excelled in both club and school soccer. She was metro league MVP and led her Surrey FC Pegasus squad to a provincial title in 2017, and the following year, she helped her Fraser Heights high school squad win the Fraser Valley zone championship. In 2019, with Surrey United SC, she earned all-star honours at the SX Cup, and helped her squad win the Vegas Mayor’s Cup tourney. Kaila is coming off an ACL tear, and will be aiming for a healthy return to the pitch in 2021.
“She’s shown a lot of good potential,” Giesbrecht noted. “She’s a centre forward who’s creative and has a good attacking mentality. She played a large part of her youth career at Surrey United and was coached by (Cascades assistant coach) Niko Marcina, and he highly recommends her.”
“I chose UFV because I loved the campus as well as the small class sizes,” Kaila said. “The coaches and students here are also very kind and welcoming, and I’ve heard that the nursing program here is great.
“My goals are to grow as a player and become stronger. I am very excited for the opportunity to continue playing soccer while pursuing a degree in nursing and I hope to be successful.”
5’6” defender, Coquitlam, B.C.
Coquitlam Metro Ford SC
Zecca tasted incredible success in high school soccer – she helped her Centennial Centaurs win back-to-back B.C. AAA championships in 2018 and 2019. She played her club soccer for Coquitlam Metro Ford in the BC Soccer Premier League, and represented the Fraser Valley at the BC Summer Games in 2014.
“Lucia has played at a high level,” Giesbrecht noted. “She has good soccer intelligence and is a good distributor. She’s also had some success at the high school level with Centennial, and I like the fact she knows what it takes to win.”
“I chose UFV because I had heard so many great things about Rob and the soccer program that he has built, as well as the kinesiology program which was talked about very highly,” Zecca said. “My dream is to set goals for the season and help my new team achieve them. I hope to win a U SPORTS championship! I know I will be playing with very talented players and I am excited to learn from all of them and make new lifelong friends.”