The UBCO Heat women’s soccer team will welcome seven new recruits for the 2022-23 season.
The new class covers all positions as they welcome midfielders Annika Gross and Salena Allibhai, strikers Megan Sun and Nina Louis, defenders Sarah Doyle and Sophia Lewis, and goaltender Talia Gagnon.
Annika Gross is the only homegrown prospect joining the team. She played for Simon Fraser University (SFU) for her first season but decided to come home and play for her hometown team. Gross played in all 17 games for SFU last season, starting in 16 of them, playing a total of 1,269 minutes. She scored one goal and added two assists. Standing at 5’4”, she also won two provincial titles with Thompson Okanagan FC in 2016 and 2019.
Strikers Megan Sun and Nina Louis are staying close to home as well. Sun is making the move from Langley, B.C., while Louis is from Vancouver. Sun previously played for Coastal FC, and in 2018 earned a silver medal at the provincials and the SX Cup. She was an honour roll student throughout high school.
Louis was the leading goalscorer for the TSS Rovers in the 2019-20 season and won four different tournament championships that same season. She was also on the Principal’s List in high school the last four years, earning over 86 percent in every class.
Four of the recruits are making the trek to Kelowna from the other side of the country. Sophia Lewis, Talia Gagnon, and Sarah Doyle are all products from New Brunswick, and all played together at the New Brunswick High Performance REX Academy.
Lewis (Moncton, N.B.) has a provincial gold medal to her name as well as a bronze with Team New Brunswick at the Atlantic Championship.
Gagnon (Dieppe, N.B.) earned the 2021 female player of the year at her academy. She also had four provincial titles to her name.
Doyle (Frederiction, N.B.) has also won three provincial championships in 2019, 2020, and 2021 as well as appearing on the Harrison Trimble Academic honour roll for four consecutive years.
Midfielder Salena Allibhai hails from Ottawa, Ontario and the Futuro Soccer Academy. In 2019, Allibhai and her academy went to England to play against youth teams from Liverpool, Everton, and Manchester United.
Head Coach Craig Smith calls the recruits a fantastic bunch of individuals who will contribute on and off the pitch.