COVID-19 has affected virtually every aspect of life the past month, resulting in the cancelation of all public gatherings to reduce the threat of spreading the virus. The month of April, before the winter school term ends, is usually the time when the UNBC Timberwolves athletics programs salute the accomplishments on their athletes on the soccer field and the basketball court over the past season at the annual awards banquet. This year, there will be no formal ceremony to hand out those awards.
UNBC sports information officer Rich Abney has provided a list of the award winners on each of the four varsity teams (men's and women's soccer, men's and women's basketball) and has interviewed the coaches to highlight some of the qualities that made those players stand out amongst their T-wolves' peers.
Today we feature the women's soccer team:
Player of the year
Best defensive player
Mara McCleary, defender
Mara McCleary had long prior established herself as one of the premier defenders in Western Canada, but was finally honoured this past season as a Canada West All-Star for her efforts on the pitch. The native of Victoria is a leader for the Timberwolves, galvanizing her teammates in crucial situations, and showing a knack for ball distribution and joining the play. On pace to be UNBC’s all-time leader in games and starts, McCleary heads into her fifth and final season eyeing a fourth consecutive conference playoff berth.
Head coach Neil Sedgwick: “Mara has been a mainstay at the back for four years for us, and has managed to get better every season. She has grown into her leadership role within the team, and carries herself so well on and off the field. She was recognized by the conference for her impact, and we are looking forward to her final season.”
Best offensive player
Sofia Jones, forward
Hometown: San Francisco, Calif.
After a strong first season with the T-wolves in 2018-2019, Sofia Jones took a major step forward this past season, pacing UNBC in goals, assists, and points. The Bay Area product is one of the quickest athletes in Canada West, and now holds the UNBC record for most goals through a player’s first two seasons.
Coach Sedgwick: “Sofia continues to add to her game. She absolutely loves the sport and that shows in her development. Contributing with her individual dribbling, passing, speed, and goal scoring this past year, she has become extremely valued by her teammates. I am really happy for her.”
Green & Gold Award
Jenna Wild, midfielder
The Green & Gold Award honours the player who represents the Timberwolves women’s soccer program with commitment, teamwork, and willingness. Jenna Wild, who started every game for UNBC this past season, developed into a tremendous player on the pitch, while also serving as a leader and beloved teammate.
Coach Sedgwick: “Jenna came to us as a tireless midfielder, and over two years, grew into a play maker, an on-field organizer, ball winner, and a friend to everyone on the team. She is incredibly respected, and I am thrilled her contributions have been recognized by her teammates.”