While many eyes in B.C. are focussed on a couple of twin hockey players this spring, Kelowna Secondary School has its own set of athletic twins that are hoping to lead the Owls to playoff success.
And now Lexa and Gabi Leclair have secured a large part of their future having committed to attend the University of West Texas A & M on a soccer scholarship.
The Leclair sisters are a dynamic defensive duo for KSS, starting at middle defense together for the Owls senior girls soccer team that is heading into the playoffs this weekend.
Much like the Sedins in Vancouver, the pair have played together since they can remember and that will continue for at least the next four years at West Texas, a Div. II school in the NCAA.
“Getting the scholarship together is great,” said Lexa. “Even though I kind of wanted to do my own thing, we just realized we both should be going to the same school because we have great chemistry. We both play centre back and we play the best when we are both on the field.”
The chemistry obviously comes naturally to the Leclair’s but it also comes from experience. They have played on every single team together since they started playing soccer. Along with the KSS senior girls team they are also both on the PCSL Under-21 team this year.
“I love playing with her,” said Gabi. “We have such good chemistry. It sounds bad but we’re not afraid to be mean to each other. We don’t get offended with each other if one says a comment to another that is constructive. We both decided we play our best together. It was really cool to get the scholarship. I was hoping they would take both of us.”
Heading into the high school provincials, KSS will be short one Leclair sister as Gabi is out with a torn ACL that will require surgery. Her rehab will mean she will miss the start of her university soccer career but both girls will enroll in a nursing program at West Texas this fall.
It was a program that was high on their list when contemplating other offers that were coming in from different school programs.
“We had turned down a couple of schools because they didn’t have the program we wanted,” said Lexa. “West Texas has an amazing nursing faculty.”
On a visit to the school earlier this year both Leclair sisters were sold on the campus, located in Amorillo, Texas, admittedly a long way from Kelowna, B.C.
“At first when we went down there I thought I was going to miss home,” said Gabi. “But I will have my sister so its not going to be that bad. It’s different, but it’s not that different. I think it’s cool to get out of town and go somewhere new.”
Making things easier on the Leclair’s was the fact that Kelowna native Melanie Shannon is a junior at West Texas. An OKM graduate Shannon and the rest of the women’s soccer team made the Leclairs feel welcome during the visit.
“We became instant friends with her and she showed us around the campus,” said Lexa of meeting Shannon.
Following their season with KSS and with the PCSL Under-21 team, the Leclairs will head to Texas sometime in August to begin their freshman year in the NCAA.
“We’re definitely excited,” said Gabi. “I think we will do well. We probably won’t see the field a lot in the first year just because we need to get used to the level of soccer. It’s way different than in Kelowna so it may take a while to get used to.”
Having each other to lean on however, will likely speed up the twins learning curve, at least by half.