The UNB Varsity Reds have made it to the AUS Championship for the seventh time in the team's 19-year history. They finished first in the regular season with a 10-1-2 record.
The V-Reds play their first game this weekend on November 1, at 11 am on Wickwire Field at the Dalhousie Campus in Halifax.
We asked Laura McNicholas who is graduating this year how she feels about possibly going back home to England and about the AUS Championship.
What do you miss most about England?
“Friends, family and a good English meal like fish, chips and mushy peas from the seaside by the beach.“
How often do you fly back home?
“My last visit was Christmas 2013 and I am going to fly home for Christmas this year again.
If we are going to make it to the CIS playoffs my father is going to come and watch the game, so that’s a big motivation for me. Especially because I haven’t seen him in a year.”
What did you learn about yourself at UNB?
“I think I learned more to be a team player and being able to deal with all sorts of things that are thrown against us, especially missing home, having school and then football on top of it, that’s just so many things to take at once. And I learned how to trust other people, like my teammates. To be able to know that they are there for me.”
How does soccer in Canada compare to soccer in England?
“I was playing club soccer back home, so that’s a difference.
University soccer here is so much higher compared to back home. And the girls here are much more technically gifted where back home the gameplay is faster.
And definitely the girls. Over here everybody gets along with everybody and back home there is always some drama going on.”
What are you going to miss about UNB?
“Just being around with these girls in the changing room day in and day out. It just became such a big part of my Life. It’s just my second home really. Yeah, so the friendships here and the girls, obviously.“
What is your favourite moment with the Varsity Reds?
“I would say scoring my first goal. But now we've made it to the AUS playoffs and it’s just 'wow we are here, it's real, we made it.'”
How do you feel about the playoffs and how would you describe your chances to win?
“We have never been to the CIS. All we have done this year was break record after record, so I feel we are in a strong position and more than comfortable to go into this weekend and perform well which in fact leads to the CIS playoffs. We worked hard to get where we are so it’s in our hands right now. The ball is in our court. Everything is possible, really.”
What are you going to do differently this weekend?
“Personally I take every game as it comes, treat every game as if it is a playoff final and right now I am treating every game as if it’s my last so I want the end as far away as it can be.”
Why do you deserve to win this weekend?
“From my perspective we don’t see what’s going on in other people's changing room and what hard work they put in, but in this changing room there is a group of 26 girls that are willing to work hard for each other. We all came back a week earlier for tryouts this year. It’s just little things; we put so much effort in.
So if we are able to come out on top, it’s going to be, like, one hell of an achievement. It just makes me happy thinking about it.”
What keeps you calm in such important games?
“I am not really one that lets nerves affect my performance, but I think the different personalities that everyone brings is like a jigsaw. Each person represents a different piece of a jigsaw and everyone brings something different to the team. And all fit together like a big picture. So the vibes bounced off each other so if one person comes into the changing room super pumped up the whole changing room just changes.
It’s not really one person that calms everybody down. It's more of a group thing. We have each other’s backs.”