Andy Cameron's recruiting efforts have given the UNBC women's soccer team much-improved depth as it prepares for its third season in the Canada West conference of Canadian Inter-university Sport.
Cameron, head coach of the Timberwolves, has signed four players for the 2014 Canada West campaign and is close to getting commitments from two more. The players Cameron has already secured are Anna Greenbaum, Nicole Gibbons, McKenzie Ricard and Madison Emmond. The two who will likely end up in UNBC green are Alena Carlile and Kylie Erb.
Last season, UNBC had a 1-9-2 record and finished 11th out of 13 Canada West teams. So, from Cameron's perspective, an infusion of new talent is welcome indeed.
"What we have next year is a lot more depth and that means competition for spots, and competition for spots means improvement," Cameron said. "I think we'll have a solid roster. These are significant additions to the program."
Greenbaum is an attacking midfielder from Colorado Springs, Colo. While on a trip to B.C. last summer, she came to Prince George and met with Cameron. Greenbaum then got into a Prince George Women's Soccer Association game in which she played against several UNBC players.
"That was good because she got an idea of the standard and I got to see her play as well," Cameron said.
"She's fresh out of high school. She's not physically huge but she's quick and technically very good, so she can make up for her lack of size with pace and her technical ability. I'm looking forward to seeing how she fits in with the squad."
Cameron said Greenbaum was one of the top scorers in her state high school league.
While Greenbaum should chip in offensively, Gibbons will help out on the defensive side of the game. She's a fullback who is transferring to UNBC from Surrey's Kwantlen Polytechnic University. At Kwantlen, Gibbons played at the B.C. college level so her experience will also benefit the Timberwolves.
"She came in for our recruiting weekend six weeks ago and enjoyed the experience," Cameron said.
"She played with Kwantlen when they qualified for nationals a few years back," he added. "She hasn't played competitively for a year but, based on her performance during the recruiting weekend, that's not going to be an issue."
Gibbons is from Victoria.
Ricard, a Penticton product, was also in Prince George for the mid-February recruiting weekend. She will be a first-year player with UNBC and can play as a central defender, left fullback or midfielder.
"She was being recruited by some of the bigger schools so it was nice to get her," Cameron said. "From what I understand, UBC and UVic were both after her."
As for Emmond, she's a hometown player who developed her talents in the Prince George Youth Soccer Association. Like Ricard, she's able to fill multiple roles.
"She's athletic and quick," Cameron said of Emmond, who will be in her first year of Canada West eligibility. "She's used to going forward and playing different attacking roles."
Carlile and Erb - the two players who are a pen stroke away from joining the UNBC program - played alongside Ricard in Penticton and will be in Prince George at the end of April.
"We'll sort of do the rubber stamp thing," Cameron said.
Carlile is a central midfielder who brings a physical component to the position and Erb is a fullback with good height and athleticism.
Three other players - Emily Carter and Samantha Childs of Prince George and Bailey Kupferschmid of Quesnel - have been training with the T-wolves and are considering their options for next season.