Spartans soccer adds pair

Trinity Western women's soccer program inks first two recruits of 2016 class

The Trinity Western Spartans have inked their first two recruits for the 2016 women’s soccer season.

Surrey’s Kristen Sakaki and Calgary’s Gabi Short will join the team for the fall.

Sakaki joins the team with an ability to impact the game at both ends of the park as an attacking outside back.

The Grade 12 student at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary, spent time with the Vancouver Whitecaps Girls Elite team in 2015 and is currently plying with Surrey United’s U18 team in the B.C. Soccer Premier League. She has also spent time with the provincial development program at both the U15 and U16 levels.

“Ever since I saw Kristen play and met her personally, I knew she had the potential to be a top recruit for our program,” said Spartans coach Graham Roxburgh.

“She is a fantastic recruit for our program both because of her soccer ability, but more importantly because I see a person that will both enhance our culture and thrive within it. “She is an excellent student, a versatile player and someone who will fit right in with the team and the mentality that has made us successful over the past number of years.

“(Kristen) has great ability to attack from an outside back position, is a tenacious defender, but also possesses wonderful ability to attack and help generate offense,” he added.

“I like her versatility and her humble approach. We are blessed to have her join our program.”

“The atmosphere was so welcoming and I really felt a sense of community and spirit at TWU,” said Sakaki, who plans on studying business.

“Coach Graham Roxburgh, the players and all the university staff have been so friendly and have already treated me like one of their own. I am so excited to be a part of such a successful soccer program and a winning environment at TWU.”

Short is the latest in a long list of Calgary products to land in Langley.

The striker has helped her club team, the Calgary Southwest United Premiers, win the provincial championships four years running. They have also medalled all four of those seasons at nationals, winning silver in 2013 and 2015 and bronze in 2012 and 2014.

She earned the golden boot as top scorer at the 2014 national championships.

“Since I first met her, I sensed she has the potential to be a very special player at the next level. She possesses both the skill, athleticism and drive to excel and become an impact player,” Roxburgh said.

“She is an attacking player with good vision, pace and an ability to run at players. She is versatile as a player, who works tirelessly and is dedicated to the game.”

“(Gabi) has a winning mentality and has experience at playing at a high level and within important games, so she comes to our program with so many attributes that we are looking for in our recruits.”

“TWU provides a highly respected education that has a smaller and more intimate educational community, which will help me excel in the career I choose,” Short said.

“As well, the school has a successful women’s soccer program that has fantastic support behind it and I can’t wait to be a part of it all.”