KELOWNA, BC – It has been quite a busy past few weeks for Heat head coach Claire Paterson, but her efforts on the recruiting trail have paid off big dividends for UBC Okanagan women’s soccer program, as she was able to secure three prized recruits to add more talent to her program in 2013.
Haylee Lakovic (Striker, Kelowna, BC)
A local soccer standout from Mount Boucherie Secondary School, Haylee Lakovic has decided to call Kelowna home for at least another five years with her recent commitment to the UBC Okanagan Heat.
Lakovic brings a wealth of talent and experience to the program, having traveled across Canada and the United States playing soccer. In 2011, she helped lead her Thompson-Okanagan FC team to the Super Y National Finals in Tampa Bay, FL and ended up tied for top scorer to highlight the event. She has also won the Golden Boot award in 2010 and 2011 for the Mount Boucherie Bears, while serving as team captain for both the Bears and the TOFC.
Head coach Claire Paterson has had her eye on Lakovic, the 5-foot-6 forward, for a while now, and could not be more pleased that the Kelowna product is deciding to stay home to play her university soccer at UBC Okanagan and earn her post-secondary degree.
"The Okanagan has produced some fantastic goal scorers; Haylee is one of them, and I am really glad that she has decided to stay close to home," says Paterson. “Her attacking prowess and nose for goals will bring another threat into the Heat line up which is something we are always looking for. She first became a player to watch for us as a U14 player playing for the TOFC Super Y program where she had some fantastic success over the years."
Haylee credits the program's direction, as well as proximity to home, as the major reasons why she chose the Heat.
"I decided to sign with UBC Okanagan because Claire is a great coach [and] along with the rest of the coaching staff, they have so much to offer," says Lakovic. "I have heard a lot of good things about the program and I am excited that the school is going CIS. I look forward to be playing against the top players in the nation, and there's nowhere better to play than in your own backyard. I am hoping that playing at UBC Okanagan will take my game to the next level, and I look forward to the challenge that university soccer brings me."
Katie Smillie (Fullback, Delta, BC)
A workhorse from her fullback position, Smillie has enjoyed quite a successful career playing soccer in the Lower Mainland. In 2011, she led her Coastal FC team, as captain, to a first place tie in the Super Y League. Then, in 2012, she helped lead South Fraser FC to not only an undefeated regular season, but an undefeated postseason as well, en route to the championship.
Head coach Claire Paterson is a big fan of the 5-foot-5 Katie's defensive abilities, stating: "Katie is a workhorse, [and] every time I have seen her play she has made an impact in the game. A tenacious defender with pace and an attacking mindset, she can cause problems for teams on both sides of the ball."
Graduating from Delta Secondary this June Smillie feels the fit as UBC Okanagan is perfect for her and credits the future move to the CIS as a major reason why decided to join the Heat.
"I chose UBC Okanagan because I believe that the program will help me develop to the best of my abilities as a player and student," says Katie. "I am excited for the plans the women's soccer program has for moving forward into the future and can't wait to join the Heat in the fall."
Paige Moody (Centre Defender/Fullback, Surrey, BC)
Smillie will be joined by her Coastal FC teammate in Paige Moody, who has also signed her letter of intent to play for the Heat in 2013. Much like Smillie, Moody has caught the attention of university programs due to her defensive prowess and ability to lockdown strikers from her centre defender position. More importantly, she adds size to a Heat program that has struggled with finding tall players that have the ability to control the middle of the pitch; a main reason why coach Paterson found her to be a very appealing recruit.
"I am really glad Paige has decided to join our program in the fall," says Paterson of the 5-foot-9 recruit. "I have had the opportunity to see Paige play at our identification camps, as well as the Whitecaps Showcase, and she has a lot of potential to add some depth to our back line. A tall, pacey player she works hard to shut down the opposition with the added benefit of adding some height to our back line."
Like her teammate Smillie, Moody credits the direction of the program, as well as the coaching environment, as the major reasons why she chose to join the Heat after graduating from Elgin Park Secondary this June.
"I am excited to be joining the Heat soccer team because of the great coaching staff as well as the playing and learning environment they offer," says Moody. "I feel like I can learn and grow as a player under their guidance and look forward to being part of the vision and future of the women’s soccer program here at UBC Okanagan."