Burnaby has become a hotbed of recruiting for National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I women’s soccer teams.
This month, Burnaby Central Secondary produced one of North America’s top recruiting classes, with seven grads landing a total of $1.9 million in scholarships at Div. I schools.
Six of the girls are members of the Whitecaps Elite REX Academy, which sees students train with the Whitecaps organization while attending school at Central.
International soccer star Alphonso Davies, who is currently playing for the Canadian men’s national team at the World Cup in Qatar, is a product of the academy.
Since 2018, however, the focus of the Whitecaps partnership at Central has shifted to the elite girls’ program.
In October, eight girls in the program (Grade 10 student Emily Wong; Grade 11 students Iba Oching, Jaime Perrault, Ashley Roberts and Jeneva Hernandez Gray; and Grade 12 students Mya Archibald, Anna Hauer and Clare Logan) represented Canada at the U17 World Cup in India.
“It’s very exciting for all of us at Central to see our current and former students making their mark on the international stage,” principal Tim Wozney said in an emailed statement. “These student-athletes are great examples of how youth can set lofty goals and achieve their dreams.”
On NCAA signing day on Nov. 9, seven Burnaby Central Grade 12 students signed four-year scholarships with Div. I schools in the U.S.
Mya Archibald is headed to University of Illinois, Anna Hauer to University of Memphis, Nyema Ingleton to West Virginia University, Ava Jackson to University of Arkansas, Clare Logan to University of Notre Dame and Sonya Mehta to University of Iowa.
Burnaby Central’s Gabriela MacFarlane, a former member of the Whitecaps program now with the B.C. provincial team, is also headed to University of Memphis.
Ire Omotayo, another member of the Whitecaps program who lives in Burnaby but is finishing up high school online, earned a scholarship to Villanova University.
Omotayo’s scholarship pushes the total for Burnaby girls to more than $2.1 million.
“We are very proud of this Class of 2023, who will go on to represent our club, country and province in the elite levels of collegiate competition across North America and prepare them for future international play and for bright futures post their soccer careers,” said Ryan Clark, Whitecaps manager of collegiate transition and identification events.