Two Nelson Youth Soccer graduates have found their way back to their home province to play out their university careers.
Brittany Wheeler and Andrea Stinson, teammates throughout youth soccer campaigns, landed on the roster of the University of Okanagan Heat after spending the early part of their respective CIS Women’s Soccer careers in Alberta.
The two players transfered to UBCO after spending the early part of their university careers playing in Alberta — Stinson at the University of Calgary and Wheeler with University of Lethbridge.
“It was identified in our first few days with the program that Andrea (Stinson) had a ton to offer and was without hesitation was brought on to help captain our team leading into the 2016 CIS season,” the Heat coaching staff said of the diminutive, but incredibly fast Stinson.
As for Wheeler, a solid defender throughout her soccer career, the UBCO staff was happy to find an experienced player to solidify the Heat back line.
“Brittany brings incredible spirit, heart and integrity to our program,” interim UBCO coach Craig Smith added when asked about 5'2" Wheeler.
“As a wide defender Britt continually stops the oppositions top attacking players with her dominating 1v1 defending ability.”
The Heat, coming off a 5-2 loss Friday in Edmonton against the University of Alberta Bears and a 1-1 tie Sunday at home versus University of Northern BC Timberwolves, sit sixth in the West Division of the CIS with a 4-7-1 record as the season enters its final week of regular season play.
The Heat held a quick 2-0 lead against the third-place Bears before Alberta scored four times in 23 minutes to take control of the game, leading 4-2 at halftime.
Stinson, working on a degree in Human Kinetics after transferring to UBCO following three seasons at U of C, assisted on a goal by Maddy Laranjo to give the Heat the two-goal advantage.
“(Andrea) adds some experience to an otherwise fairly young squad,” Smith said.
“Stinny plays in the heart of our midfield and brings a sense of energy and composure to our game model.”
Wheeler, in her fourth year of a Arts Major, played with Stinson on Nelson Youth Soccer Rep teams as well as Kootenay Regional squads.
“In addition to defending, Brittany provides consistent and accurate delivery of the ball to our attacking players when we are playing out of the back or attacking the goal,” Smith explained.
Stinson and Wheeler are just a few Nelson Youth Soccer girls playing at the varsity level.
At the University of Lethridge, three players are currently on the roster — defender Erica Augsten, forward Naomi Perkins and midfielder Tara Yowek.
Lethbridge, 3-7-2 in the East Division of Canada West CIS, travels to BC to face Trinity Western and University of Fraser Valley.
UBCO concludes the CIS regular season at home this weekend, hosing University of Saskatchewan Saturday and Regina Sunday.
Both games are at Nonis Sports Field on the campus of UBCO.
"Andrea Stinson and Brittany Wheeler are both key pieces to our 2016 Canada West Squad and are both incredible young women to work with," the UBCO coaching staff said.