Fraser Valley – Maddy Gobeil is set to become the second active University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball player to spend the 2020-21 season playing professionally in Europe.
The rising sophomore point guard from Kamloops, B.C. has inked a contract with US Poinçonnet Basket, a club in France’s Nationale Féminine 1 (NF1) league.
Gobeil joins Deanna Tuchscherer as current Cascades playing in Europe – Tuchscherer joined ZTE NKK in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary last month.
Like Tuchscherer, Gobeil felt that with the uncertainty surrounding the status of the Canadian university sport season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, taking the opportunity to develop overseas was her best option. She will have her remaining four years of eligibility intact when she returns to UFV in 2021, and in the meantime, she is able to continue her kinesiology studies online.
“I’m excited to get to compete at a high level against older, more experienced women,” Gobeil said. “I’m looking forward to learning from my teammates and other players in the league, and then bringing that back to my team at UFV next fall.”
Gobeil was one of the top rookies in Canada West last season, averaging 8.8 points per game, good for third on the team as the Cascades posted a 16-4 record in conference play. Her campaign was punctuated by a number of impressive scoring outbursts – a season-high 19 points (including four three-pointers) vs. Winnipeg on Nov. 2, and a team-high 16 points in a playoff loss to Alberta on Feb. 20.
Gobeil had a highly decorated prep career, leading the South Kamloops Titans to back-to-back B.C. AA high school titles in 2018 and 2019, earning tournament MVP honours on both occasions.
Gobeil and Tuchscherer are not the only Cascades playing professionally this fall. Fellow sophomore Lauryn Walker, unable to return to Canada from her native Australia amidst the pandemic, has suited up for the Norths Bears of the Waratah League. Additionally, recent graduate Taylor Claggett has launched her pro career with Maree Basketball Club in Ireland.
“I believe we’ve found a great situation for Maddy,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “She’s going to be challenged every day in practice, and having watched a few of US Poinçonnet Basket’s games, she is going to learn a lot. This team has a very good and experienced point guard, and I’m excited for Maddy to compete against her every day.
“I think every U SPORTS team is trying find a way to challenge their athletes in 2020-21. Our approach has been to support our players who want to find a challenge like this – Maddy is our third after Lauryn and Deanna. In turn, this really opens the door for some of our other athletes to play and to be coached hard, and really puts everyone in a position to grow. We’re really excited to bring everyone back together in the spring and see the growth in our team.”
Playing professionally overseas is a thrill for Gobeil in more ways than one – she’s always dreamed of traveling to France (specifically Paris), and this will be her first opportunity to do so.
“As a kid, my room had a Paris theme,” she said with a chuckle. “I had a sign that said Paris, a landscape photo of the city, a picture of the Eiffel Tower. It’s such a beautiful city, and I think that’s what captured my eye as a kid.”
With her club based in Le Poinçonnet, about 300 kilometres south of Paris, Gobeil may finally get her chance to see the City of Lights in person.