KELOWNA, BC -- Becky Leavell, a forward from Memorial Composite High school, chose to sign with UBC Okanagan for a list of reasons. “I drove through Kelowna last summer,” she said, “I immediately fell in love with the area. I began researching the academic programs available at UBCO and the Women’s Heat athletic program. I was equally impressed by the Human Kinetics program and the fact that the Women’s soccer team competes in the CIS league.”
Leavell was also able to visit the school and the soccer program in January, and impressed head coach Claire Paterson. “I was in contact with one of my colleagues in Alberta who I have worked with in the Provincial program and he recommended Becky,” said Coach Paterson. The Heat coach continued, “I had the opportunity to bring Becky out in January to get a chance to see her play and she did very well alongside our current players. She has a nose for the goal and a wonderful finishing touch that immediately impressed.”
Prior to joining the Heat program, Leavell spent the previous four years in the Edmonton Strikers organization, becoming a part of the Strikers’ Women’s High Performance Program (WHPP).
With the WHPP the 5’5” forward studied the game under the guidance of Manchester United product Ritchie Jones, currently a midfielder with FC Edmonton. That top-tier tutelage has helped the seventeen-year-old scorer get to somewhere she’s always wanted to be. “One of my goals all along has been to play soccer at a university level, while completing my education,” said Leavell.
In 2013 Leavell was named the Duffield School’s Female Athlete of the Year, also earning MVP honours for her play with the school’s basketball team.
Of Leavell’s soccer career thus far, coach Paterson said, “Becky has a wealth of experience (club, provincial team as well as national training centre in Edmonton) and we are looking forward to her joining the program in the fall.”
As a UBC Okanagan student athlete, Leavell wants to focus on the classroom as much as the pitch. “I am hoping to enter the faculty of Human Kinetics initially, with the possibility of going into education after that or perhaps a postgraduate degree in physiotherapy,” said the incoming Heat forward, adding that she would like “to either pursue a career in the educational field as a physical education teacher or counselor, or perhaps explore a career in the sports medicine field.” Quick to give credit where it is due, she added, “I have had a number of great role models as coaches, trainers and teachers, who have inspired me to go in this direction.”
Becky is the lone of the six newcomers to the Heat women's soccer squad that does not hail from British Columbia for the upcoming Canada West season. She joins a pair of TOFC products from Vernon, BC in Maya Bandy (Midfielder) and Maddy Laranjo (Midfielder), and three from the Lower Mainland in Violet Bacon (Fullback, Surrey, BC), Kylee Walker (FB/MID, Delta, BC), and college transfer Samantha Savoy (Defender, Surrey, BC) as part of a strong Heat recruiting class.