Kamloops, BC—A key component to a strong soccer team is having a strong back end. The Thompson University WolfPack women’s soccer team has added some depth in the goalkeeping department for the upcoming Canada West campaign.
Head coach Kelly Shantz and the WolfPack are pleased to announce that 5’10”keeper Shelbie Clarke of Invermere, BC has agreed to join the program in August.
Clarke is a recent graduate of David Thompson Secondary School and played rep soccer for the Columbia Valley Titans.
“Soccer is my life and I am glad I will get to continue it at a high level playing for the WolfPack,” says Clarke, who will be taking general studies at Thompson Rivers with an eye at majoring in Psychology. She was also looking at attending UBCO and Olds College.
Jim Collins coached Clarke for two seasons with the Titans (2014, 2015). “She came to us because her sister was on our team and we were having a tough time getting anyone to commit as a keeper. She was two years younger than the rest of our players. Initially she had some tough times playing with older teammates but as she matured both mentally and physically she became the best keeper we ever had and our success those years were a result of her development and commitment to the game.”
Collins says Clarke has a lot of raw natural talent and is very coachable. “It may take a little getting used to the commitment of University soccer but if she knows what is expected then she has the will and the drive to win and vye for a starting position.”
Clarke admits that her biggest challenges will be getting used to read the older players.
WolfPack head coach Shantz had this to say about his latest recruit: “Adding Shelbie to our Women’s Soccer family is another “feel good” story and rewarding moment as a coach of young people. I found Shelbie playing for a small town team in the B Provincial Championships in Penticton last year and was immediately impressed with her raw size, athleticism and fearless goalkeeping. Honestly, she did some things that amazed me athletically. Over the last year we have worked with her and her family on their dreams and goals for the future, her academics and short term needs and, of course, her passion and willingness to take a shot at big-league soccer coming from a small town team and league. I am really proud to provide this opportunity and I know Shelbie is up for it. Shelbie is 5’10” which is really valuable if a keeper can move and she proved that at an ID Camp in March on campus when her test scores were at or near the top of the scale for the keepers. She has had very little goalkeeper specific training and learning the finer points of controlling play and understanding her complete job will be a big job for Shelbie, but we are ready to be patient with her progress as needed. The door is open for Shelbie to compete here. She could make the team, she could start some games, or she could end up red-shirting a season and growing as a young keeper, but we are there for her and will push her to achieve at a pace she can handle and flourish. I am really excited to add Shelbie in. Welcome to the Pack! “
She becomes the eighth recruit signed by the WolfPack for the coming season. The others are: Emily Mann (5’5”, midfield, Kamloops, BC-South Kamloops Secondary/KYSA U-18), Olivia Bates (5’5’, Centreback, Courtney, BC -G.P Vanier Secondary/Upper Island Riptide VIPL), Camryn Curts (5’6”,centremid, Courtenay, BC-Mark R. Isfeld Secondary/Upper Island Riptide VIPL), Abbie Simms (5’8”, forward, Comox, BC-Carihi Secondary/Upper Island Riptide, VIPL), Rylee Singleterry (5’7”, defender, Surrey, BC-Clayton Heights Secondary/TSS Black), Danielle Robertson (5’5” keeper, Courtenay, BC-Mark R. Isefeld Secondary/Upper Island Riptide VIPL), and Madison Catt (5’7”,fullback, Vernon, BC-Clarence Fulton Secondary-Vancouver Whitecaps Vernon School Academy/TOFC).
The WolfPack begin their training camp in mid-August at Hillside Stadium. Their season opener is at home Saturday, September 9th against MacEwan University Griffins. Kickoff is 1 pm.
THROW INS: Collins on an anecdote about Clarke: “With Shelbie and her sister on the same team they would get into some great discussions on the field. Sometimes they were so loud that the ref would ask the girls or me what was going on (some of the discussions were heated). We would just reply ‘It’s OK they are sisters’, and the ref would carry on.”