It has been quite a busy and productive couple of weeks for UBC Okanagan women’s soccer head coach Claire Paterson.
Paterson’s efforts on the recruiting trail have paid off with big dividends for UBCO’s women’s soccer program with the signing of three prized high school recruits, adding more talent to her program in 2013.
The Heat have signed striker Haylee Lakovic of West Kelowna, along with two other players from the lower mainland to the women’s soccer roster.
An Okanagan soccer standout from Mount Boucherie Secondary School, Lakovic has decided to call Kelowna home for at least another five years with her commitment to the UBC Okanagan Heat.
Lakovic brings a wealth of talent and experience to the program, having traveled across Canada and the United States playing soccer. In 2011, she helped lead her Thompson-Okanagan FC team to the Super Y National Finals in Tampa Bay, FL and ended up tied for top scorer to highlight the event. She has also won the Golden Boot award in 2010 and 2011 for the Mount Boucherie Bears, while serving as team captain for both the Bears and the TOFC.
Paterson says she has had her eye on Lakovic, the 5-foot-6 forward, for awhile now, and could not be more pleased that the West Kelowna product is deciding to stay home to play her university soccer at UBC Okanagan and earn her post-secondary degree.
“The Okanagan has produced some fantastic goal scorers and Haylee is one of them,” said Paterson. “I am really glad that she has decided to stay close to home. Her attacking prowess and nose for goals will bring another threat into the Heat line up which is something we are always looking for. She first became a player to watch for us as a U-14 player playing for the TOFC Super Y program where she had some fantastic success over the years.”
Haylee credits the program’s direction, as well as proximity to home, as the major reasons why she chose the Heat.
“I decided to sign with UBC Okanagan because Claire is a great coach and along with the rest of the coaching staff, they have so much to offer,” said Lakovic. “I have heard a lot of good things about the program and I am excited that the school is going CIS. I look forward to be playing against the top players in the nation, and there’s nowhere better to play than in your own backyard. I am hoping that playing at UBC Okanagan will take my game to the next level, and I look forward to the challenge that university soccer brings me.”
The UBCO women’s soccer program also received commitments from two top players from the Vancouver area as Paterson was able to recruit Katie Smillie from Delta and Paige Moody out of Surrey.
A workhorse from her fullback position, Smillie has enjoyed quite a successful career playing soccer in the Lower Mainland. In 2011, she led her Coastal FC team, as captain, to a first place tie in the Super Y League. Then, in 2012, she helped lead South Fraser FC to not only an undefeated regular season, but an undefeated postseason as well, en route to the championship.
“I chose UBC Okanagan because I believe that the program will help me develop to the best of my abilities as a player and student,” said Smillie. “I am excited for the plans the women’s soccer program has for moving forward into the future and can’t wait to join the Heat in the fall.”
Smillie will be joined by her Coastal FC teammate in Moody, who has also signed her letter of intent to play for the Heat in 2013. Much like Smillie, Moody has caught the attention of university programs due to her defensive prowess and ability to lockdown strikers from her centre defender position. More importantly, she adds size to a Heat program that has struggled with finding tall players that have the ability to control the middle of the pitch; a main reason why coach Paterson found her to be a very appealing recruit.
“I am excited to be joining the Heat soccer team because of the great coaching staff as well as the playing and learning environment they offer,” said Moody. “I feel like I can learn and grow as a player under their guidance and look forward to being part of the vision and future of the women’s soccer program here at UBC Okanagan.”