VARSITY REDS KICK UP TALENT
BY: OSCAR BAKER, FOR UNB ATHLETICS
(FREDERICTON, NB) The AUS soccer season is long over, but Varsity Reds head coach Jon Crossland had his team working on the weekend.
The Varsity Reds split a pair of games against the University of Maine, a top Division 1 NCAA side.
Crossland has also been busy on the recruiting front, landing four prospects.
The Reds Academy university prep program has its first graduate to who will stay home and attend UNB.
Danika Lefebvre, a Fredericton native, has decided to stay in the city where she grew up playing soccer. Lefebvre is also a product of the Fredericton District Soccer Association and West Region Soccer Development Program, which also partners with UNB to run joint programming for players 8-18.
“I grew up participating in many camps and programs connected to UNB and continuing in this direction was an easy choice to make,” says Lefebvre, who will study Kinesiology.
Coach Crossland says he’s worked with Lefebvre in the past and adding “homegrown talent,” is always a plus. He believes Lefebvre can make an instant difference to the team.
“It’s no secret that goal scoring was, at times, a challenge for us in 2015 and it is one of Danika’s favorite things to do, so we are excited for her contributions in 2016 and beyond.”
Dave Foley, the Varsity Reds men’s soccer team all-time leading soccer, is contributing again to UNB soccer. The former player’s daughter has signed a CIS letter of intent.
Erin Foley is known more for her stellar defense than scoring.
“I am a defender that reads the game well and moves the ball quickly. My strengths include consistently playing with pace, passing and moving well,” says the younger Foley.
A product of the Ottawa South United Soccer Club, Foley will enter the Arts Faculty at UNB.
“I selected UNB over other universities as I feel that this team can win a national championship. Along with excellent athletics, UNB offers strong athletics, a welcoming community, great facilities and an awesome campus.”
Crossland is well aware of the family connection.
“Erin will have to write her own chapter in UNB Soccer history as we continue to develop our program. Her dad won an AUS championship at UNB, hopefully we can beat the family record in Erin’s time here.”
A second member of Ottawa South United has signed a letter of intent too. Clarisse Ramirez will study psychology while playing wing back for the Varsity Reds.
After attending the 2015 Varsity Reds Prospect Camp, Ramirez felt the mix of academics and athletics was too much to pass up.
“I felt UNB was the right choice for me because of the combination of the academic program and the soccer program, and the soccer program that is best suited for me,” says Ramirez.
Crossland was grateful that Ramirez chose to attend the camp. She really impressed the coach with her work ethic and ability.
“Having her in our Prospects Camp further confirmed her ability, but also gave us an opportunity to get to know her more off the field, which only furthered out interest.”
North London Galaxy Soccer Club team captain Cierra Thomas has signed a CIS letter of intent to play for UNB.
Thomas, a wing back with exceptional one on one defensive skills, will study Sociology during her time at UNB.
After visiting Fredericton, her mind was made up.
“After visiting different campuses, I truly felt a sense of community at UNB. The soccer team is so welcoming. I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of,” says Thomas.
Crossland said assistant coach Joe Crossland took the lead on recruiting Thomas.
“As a player, Cierra is technically and tactically very good and the speed and power she posses will be a handful for opponents in the AUS.”