At just 20 years old there will be a lot of pressure on 150 Mile House’s Laura Smylie heading into the 2013/14 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association soccer season as a co-captain of the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack women’s soccer team.
Smylie admits, having grown up with a passion and love for all things soccer but now heading into her fourth and final CCAA season with the WolfPack, she won’t be afraid to put pressure on herself to help her play to the best of her ability.
As a junior captain with the WolfPack during last year’s PacWest title win and fourth place finish at the CCAA nationals Smylie, who heads up the defensive core as a sweeper, said it’s a role she’s been looking forward to.
“I always put quite a bit of pressure on myself [to play well] just because I’m a perfectionist and I really like to excel at whatever I can,” Smylie said.
“Soccer’s always been really good to me so I try to put as much into it as I can to see what I can get from it. I’ve had amazing experiences and now I’m the captain of a university soccer team.”
So far, all signs point to the WolfPack continuing to be a strong force in the PacWest division. The WolfPack won both its season openers on the weekend defeating Capilano University 2-1 on Saturday and the Vancouver Island University Marines, 3-1, on Sunday.
Following the weekend’s wins the WolfPack continue to hold down the fourth spot in the CCAA national rankings, and are seeded first in the PacWest division.
Smylie said based on what she’s seen on the pitch so far there’s no reason the WolfPack can’t make a run deep into the playoffs again this season.
“I was a little bit worried at the beginning of the season just because we lost a couple of really important girls,” she said, adding other co-captains Bronwyn Crawford and Alanna Bekkering have also stepped up to help lead the club.
“It’s always a little bit nerve racking when you start a new season but we were able to work together and have some great results. Even these first couple games I could really see we have a lot of potential and I think it’s only going to go up from here.
“I have great hopes for this team and I think we can pull it off again.”
Regardless of how the WolfPack finish this season, Smylie doesn’t have any regrets about her soccer career at TRU.
“I always try to have fun — that’s why I play,” she said. “But, being my last year of my degree, it’s going to be tough. I’ve been playing soccer my whole life and this will be kind of the end of it but this is a great ending.”
Academically, Smylie is set to graduate this year with a degree in cellular and molecular biology before continuing on in her studies next year at the B.C. Institute of Technology in Vancouver.
Smylie and the WolfPack play their home opener Saturday, Oct. 5 at Hillside Stadium in Kamloops against the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Kickoff is at noon.