Williams Lake goalkeeper Brityn Hinsche has been attending University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves soccer camps since she was about 14 years old.
But this fall, the green and gold colours of the Timberwolves she once wore at camp will mean a little more.
Hinsche, who recently graduated from Lake City Secondary School, has moved to Prince George to begin preparing for the 2021/22 UNBC Timberwolves Canada West women’s soccer season after officially announcing her commitment to the club earlier this summer.
“I am very excited. I am also nervous, because I am going to be playing with some fourth and fifth years, so I am going to be the newbie on the team. But it is going to be a good experience for me, and I am going to get to make a whole bunch of new friends that way.”
The 18-year-old said the chance to play close to home was a factor in her decision to commit to the Timberwolves. She sees her decision as a nod to the support of her family, who have been cheering her on since she started playing the game at the age of seven.
“That is one of the reasons I chose UNBC. It is close to home. I want them to be able to come and see how much I have grown in the sport. They have been watching me since I was young. For them to see me grow as a player will mean a lot to me and a lot to them.”
Hinsche first took up the goalkeeping position when she was 10, and fell in love with the high stakes nature of the role. She began attending UNBC camps when she was in Grade 9, where she met Brooke Molby and Madison Doyle, who had just begun their Timberwolves careers. To come full circle and throw on the same kit as the two veteran netminders is the culmination of years of hard work, she said.
“Brooke and Madi have helped me a lot. I have been coming since Grade 9, and I have known them both since then. They have watched me grow, and I have watched them grow. They’re the same as Neil — they’re very understanding. If you don’t know something, you go ask and they’ll explain it to you. They are very patient, and they’re great goalkeepers, so you have something to look up to.”
As Molby and Doyle head into their senior seasons at UNBC, T-wolves coach Neil Sedgwick knew he needed to add depth to the keeper position. He has witnessed Hinsche’s growth as a player and a person, and said he is thrilled to add an athlete of her calibre to the program. Hinsche honed her athletic versatility by competing in school sports at Lake City secondary, along with karate, swimming, archery and track and field.
“I am really excited to welcome Brityn to the Timberwolves,” Sedgwick said.
“She has a true thirst for learning and improving. She has placed herself in a good position athletically, and it will be that high level of focus that guides her growth within the program. She really is an amazing student and person. Beyond the pitch, she will contribute positively to the supportive culture that the student athletes have nurtured.”
Hinsche plans to enroll in UNBC’s biomedical studies program. With her long-term goal focused on physiotherapy, Hinsche’s first step has been joining her new teammates for training camp in Prince George beginning this month.
“I like being that last line of defense. I like being the last one to touch the ball before anything happens. I like to be the starting platform where plays happen, too. I am a pretty decent leader, so it gives me a chance to express myself that way. Overall, I am expecting good, strong plays from both teams. I am excited to see where it goes.”
Hinsche is particularly looking forward to later this month when she’ll get a chance to showcase her skills in front of a Williams Lake audience Aug. 17 when the UNBC Timberwolves are slated to play an exhibition intrasquad contest as part of their preseason schedule. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. at the Esler Sports Complex. The Williams Lake Youth Soccer Association will have a concession open and entry will be by voluntary donation.
Then, the following morning, Aug. 18, the Timberwolves are hosting a free soccer camp for the WLYSA from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
“I’m really looking forward to that,” Hinsche said. “We go from Quesnel, to Williams Lake, then to Kamloops and Kelowna, then come back up to get ready for the start of the season.”
– With files from the UNBC Timberwolves