Over the past four years, Zoe Grace has made an impact on VIU’s Women’s Soccer team. The senior from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is a very strong defensive player and loves working with her teammates to achieve success.
The Physical Education major took time to reflect on the Mariners season, give advice for aspiring athletes, and share her pre-game ritual which includes busting out impressive air saxophone solos.
How, and when, did you get started playing soccer?
My mom signed me up in a small neighbourhood kids league in Saskatoon when I was four, and I’ve been playing ever since.
What is it about soccer that you like so much?
I love the team aspect. Coming on to this team, it was as if I instantly had 25 new best friends that all had the same passion as me. I also love how the rest of the world seems to disappear as soon as you step on to the field—it’s great stress relief.
When did you realize you might be able to take your skills to the next level and play in college?
I had a lot of great coaches that instilled confidence in me during high school, but I think the turning point was when I went to an ID camp at a university in Alberta and realized I had the skill to compete at that level.
What are some of the challenges that come with being a student-athlete?
Definitely time management. Juggling soccer, school work, and even jobs for some of us can be a daunting task, especially during our season.
The Mariners came away with the PacWest bronze medal after a hard fought 1-0 victory over the Langara Falcons, what did that team success feel like?
Although it wasn’t the result we wanted, it was really nice to end the season with a win. Our whole team battled that entire game and really laid it all on the pitch, so it was nice to get a result that represented our efforts.
How did it feel to earn PacWest all-star team honours for your performance in the tournament?
It felt pretty cool to be recognized like that, but it was our entire team’s performance that allowed me to play the way I did and with such a great amount of confidence. It was a nice affirmation of all of the hard work I’ve put in the past five years.
What do you consider to be your college career highlight so far?
Beating Douglas in the provincial final in 2016 and going to nationals in Montreal.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
Having a dance party in the change room and busting out a sick air saxophone solo, and putting on my left shin pad, sock, and cleat first.
What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time?
I have an anatomy colouring book that I like to dabble in on rainy days.
What’s the strangest talent you have?
Some would call my ability to trip over seemingly nothing a talent.
If you could give one piece of advice to young athletes, what would it be?
Try as many sports as you can, and be open to new experiences. You never know what you’ll end up falling in love with. But most importantly, make sure you’re having fun doing it.
What are 5 things you can’t live without?
Coffee, chocolate, my cleats, my day planner, and sunscreen.
The team has already begun the process of recruiting for the 2018 season; what tips would you have for female athletes who have aspirations to play?
You never know what you’re capable of until you try. If it’s something you really want, then work your hardest and dedicate yourself to the process, and you never know where you’ll end up.