For two Prince Albert female athletes it was more than just talent that landed them a spot on an elite provincial soccer team.
Desire, commitment and physical ability have paved the road for MacKenzie MacAuley and Kyra Ives and those attributes will see them travel to Texas later this month to compete in the Dallas Cup. In all likelihood they will also be representing the province at the Canada Winter Games in Quebec this summer.
“There are five pillars in the high-performance plan,” says Terrol Russell, the high performance director for the Saskatchewan Soccer Association. “They are: technical, tactical, physical, psychological and social.”
“With Kyra, she works hard at the physical standard to compete at the high performance level,” adds Russell. “Mac (MacAuley) drives down to Saskatoon three times a week (to work with a goaltending coach) so anytime you have an athlete with that much dedication and commitment – you try and find a spot on the team for them.”
Ives, who plays a forward position, and MacAuley, a goaltender, have both been playing soccer for about eight years. The 16-year-olds have developed their skills through the Prince Albert Youth Soccer Association and compete in the Celtic development program.
Last fall they were among 36 players trying out for the provincial team and after further evaluation camps in December and January, they secured spots on the club that will leave Mar. 24 for Texas.
“I don’t want to say I’m surprised, but I’m happily pleased,” says MacAuley, who along with Ives has previous experience at the provincial level as both travelled to Newfoundland when they were 13 years old for a national competition.
“I know I wouldn’t be on the team if I hadn’t been going to Saskatoon and working with the coach (down there),” added MacAuley.
Russel says Ives and MacAuley fit nicely into the provincial plans as one of the goals of the high-performance program is to have a minimum of six athletes from Saskatchewan identified for the national program. He also says there is a four-year plan for development with Sept. 1, 2016, as the end date for results to be realized from technical programs brought into the province last year.
Ives and MacAuley will get a good taste of what older competition is all about in Dallas and that should help them prepare for the Canada Summer Games as that event will feature even older competition.
The hard work is paying off for the local pair and now they can showcase their talents at a higher level. It should be an exciting next few months and an experience they will remember for a lifetime.