Vernon soccer player Tori Hauptman will continue her career at the post-secondary level, having signed with the University of Winnipeg Wesmen. (Photo courtesy Wesmen Athletics)

Vernon player chooses Winnipeg as next soccer home

Tori Hauptman will play for the University of Winnipeg Wesmen in U-SPORTS’ Canada West conference

She knows the jokes are still going to come. She’s already heard them all.

Even her own father, Darrel, told her the official provincial bird of Manitoba is a mosquito (it’s actually the great grey owl).

Joke all you want but nothing will change Vernon’s Tori Hauptman’s mind about her future soccer home on the flatlands of Manitoba as a freshman with the University of Winnipeg Wesmen’s women’s soccer team.

The midfielder from Clarence Fulton Secondary and the Thompson Okanagan Football Club (TOFC) was introduced to Wesmen fans on the school’s athletic website.

“I started looking at the schools I was interested in and thought Winnipeg sounds fun. As if Vernon isn’t cold enough, let’s move to Winnipeg,” joked Hauptman, who recently turned 18, fresh off of work on a hot, sunny Wednesday after at Super B’s Auto Clean/Detail. “I sent out emails and visited ID (identification) camps and eventually found the one that I was interested in.”

Hauptman took an official visit to Winnipeg earlier this year and attended a Wesmen ID camp. She said she attended a number of post-secondary ID camps before deciding that a move to Winnipeg was the right move. She’ll compete for a midfield spot under head coach Amy Anderson, who is impressed with her new recruit’s physical skills and her mental acuity.

“Tori is coming to us with a strong soccer IQ,” Anderson said to Wesmen Athletics. “She is disciplined and motivated on and off the field. She brings a technical and game awareness to our team and we’re very happy to have Tori join our program.”

Hauptman is confident in her ability to jump to the university game. Her TOFC teams scrimmaged this past season with other post-secondary programs and also did a tour of England against semi-pro teams. TOFC is a regional program that competes in the B.C. Soccer Premier League, the highest level of youth soccer in the province.

“I see the field well and I think I’m very smart on the field,” said Hauptman. “I know where the ball is going before I get it. I know what’s going to happen and have good anticipation. A lot of people would see me as a leader. I have a strong voice and I like to take charge and make sure everything is going well.”

Hauptman has been introduced to some of her new teammates, having enjoyed lunch with them in the ‘Peg, and is part of the team’s group chat. While she hasn’t practiced yet under Anderson, her new head coach has made an impression.

“She’s super nice and cares a lot about her players,” said Hauptman, who had praise for her family, friends, and teammates in helping her reach the next level of her sport.

Hauptman also praised her TOFC head coach, Jason Thompson, who she met attending a youth camp in Grade 5, and her trainer, Mallory Kraus of MCK Athletics, a sports specific trainer.

During COVID-19, Hauptman has been exercising daily, either running up and down the hill at Fulton Secondary, riding her bike, or both. She’s been keeping her skills by taking shots on TOFC teammate, keeper Molly Race.

Hauptman is a multi-sport athlete who captained the volleyball, basketball, and soccer teams at Fulton.

She will enroll in the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Winnipeg and have five years of eligibility.

—-with files from David Larkins, Wesmen Athetics

READ MORE: United U14s bounce Blaze

READ MORE: Fulton finds groove for Seaton tourney crown

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