(FREDERICTON, NB) The turf at UNB’s BMO Centre will soon be the venue for a family reunion of sorts.
Midfielder Rachael Burton is returning to Canada after three seasons with the Jacksonville University Dolphins, and will join the Varsity Reds women’s soccer team and younger sister Emily.
“I couldn’t be happier with my decision to come home to finish my collegiate career,” said Rachael. “I’m expecting every member of the team, especially me, to show up on the first day of training camp with winning the AUS title as a collective goal.”
“I’m very excited for Rachael to be joining the Varsity Reds this season,” said the younger Burton. “Rachael and I have talked about her coming to UNB, but it won’t seem real until she’s standing beside me during pre-season.”
Rachael Burton played in 36 games over three seasons at Jacksonville University, starting in 21 matches.
Prior to heading south of the border, she played three seasons at C.P. Allen High School, in Bedford, Nova Scotia, was a member of the Nova Scotia team that finished 4th at the 2013 Canada Games, in Sherbrooke, Quebec, and has played with Halifax Dunbrack and Halifax County United club teams.
“Rachael is a great fit for our team,” said Varsity Reds head coach Jon Crossland. “She provides us with another veteran leader for a group that will feature 13 first or second year players.”
Crossland says the elder Burton brings more than just leadership to his young squad.
“She’s versatile enough to play a couple of different positions which will allow us to look at options in training camp,” he said.
The Burton sisters are only 18 months apart, and have played together a lot.
Emily is headed into her third season with the VReds and has established herself as a fixture on the team’s back line, starting 23 of her 25 career games.
“Her best attribute is her game in the air,” said Emily. “She can win headers and she gives us some physical play to protect the back line.”
Who’s the better player?
“That’s a tough question,” said Emily. “We both have strengths and weaknesses, but I have to say Rachael is a bit better.”
This will be the second opportunity for Rachael to play university soccer with a sibling.
She played her freshman season at Jacksonville University with older sister Julia.
“She’s a great player,” said Rachael, of Emily. “She may be the best of the three of us, so I’m looking forward to joining the team she’s told me so much about.”
Rachael Burton has signed a U SPORTS Letter of Intent and will join the Varsity Reds beginning in the 2017-18 season. She has two years of eligibility remaining.
She plans on studying Arts.