Building a Dream to Building a TeamUpdated Thursday April 5, 2018 by Oshawa Turul Soccer Club.
Building a Dream to Building a Team
For the past nine years, the Oshawa Turul Xtreme have worked hard to build a soccer team of competitive young ladies who, in return, have been rewarded for their commitment to soccer, school and their community.
Last week, the Oshawa Turul Xtreme girls soccer team got the surprise of a lifetime.
Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, ON, offered full athletic scholarships and maximum academic scholarships to all 16 players on this soccer team.
Shelly Nippard, Manager of Oshawa Turul Xtreme, says the magnitude of this offer is unprecedented.
“Each girl on this team was chosen by the university. I’m just blown away and so proud of these girls.” - Shelly Nippard
Pushing the limits
Years of commitment has led Oshawa Turul Xtreme to this exciting turning point.
The Oshawa Turul Xtreme players, now teenagers, balance school work, part-time jobs and time with their friends and family, all while honing their soccer skills.
The team trains a minimum of three nights per week, with some players participating in additional weekly training sessions. As well, some of the players have committed to volunteer-coaching for younger age groups at the soccer club’s winter house league program.
But having a rigorous training schedule and talented athletes doesn’t automatically lead to recognition.
This soccer team has had to work extra hard to gain the attention of high-level soccer programs that could offer them opportunities to pursue their sport at a university or college level.
During their journey, Oshawa Turul Xtreme participated in many soccer tournaments and showcases on both sides of the border. The goal was to provide the players with opportunities to showcase their skills to a wide range of schools that were offering programs that the players were interested in.
The team has had some incredible results over the years, including winning the Central Soccer League (CSL) for their age group, from 2012 to 2016; going undefeated in the CSL for three consecutive years, and having won numerous showcases/tournaments (some of the most memorable moments include) including:
On the road to follow their dreams
A few months ago, the girls were scouted by Nick Mullens, Head Recruiter of Men’s and Women’s Soccer at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie. He had been watching the players for some time and invited the team to tour the school and play soccer.
On the weekend of March 24 and 25, many of the Xtreme players and their families made the eight-hour drive to Algoma University, the smallest university in Ontario.
The team arrived on site and Algoma University put it into high gear. Coach Neil Ovey, Assistant Coach and Recruiter and Recruitment Nick Mullens and Admissions Coordinator Paul Quesnele met the team, talked to the parents, gave the players and their families a tour of the campus and, of course, the girls played some soccer.
As the University shared stories about their soccer program history and journey, the story did not seem all that different than that of the Xtreme team: Both come from small communities and are aiming to build their programs and put their names on the map of Ontario Soccer. Oshawa Turul and Algoma University have a similar past, the club and the school are small in comparison to other clubs and universities within the province. They have both seen many hurdles and have had to overcome the challenges of being from a small club/school.
During the visit, Algoma University made a huge impression on the girls, and the girls made a wonderful impression on the coaching staff at Algoma University.
Neil Ovey was impressed with Oshawa Turul Xtreme’s team cohesion,and he felt a strong connection with the smalltown team.
“It just felt right,” Neil Ovey says, “and not just from a soccer perspective, but from a life perspective.” The close-knit relationships and strong family values that he recognized amongst the Oshawa Turul Xtreme players capture the spirit of Algoma University.
It was like a match made on the pitch!
Shortly after the team’s visit, Algoma University offered scholarships to all 16 players of the Oshawa Turul Xtreme. 13 players have officially accepted the offer.
Players who have accepted the offer:
To Oshawa Xtreme Turul Defence player Jayden Newhook, the offer still feels like a dream.
Jayden says, “I have played with these girls for four years, and we have amazing chemistry. I love that I get to be with them for longer. This is something nobody expected…”
Leigha Nippard, Centre Midfielder for Oshawa Xtreme Turul, had planned on going to a U.S. university, where the soccer programs are more established. But Leigha had a change of heart after visiting Algoma University.
“I fell in love with the idea of small classes, where I would be a person rather than a number,” says Leigh. “On top of that, I loved the idea of being underdogs...Being given a chance to make a comeback and shock everybody.”
This is an exciting time for the Oshawa Xtreme Turul team, parents, coaches and Algoma University!
Vinnie DosSantos, President of the Oshawa Turul Soccer club is extremely proud of the team's accomplishments and the historical move they are about to embark on, and would like to thank the team officials Head Coach Dwayne Nippard, Coach Kevin Forrest, Coach Barry Newhook, Manager, Shelly Nippard and Assistant Manager Jennifer Chandler for their countless volunteer hours.
“The Oshawa Turul Xtreme have evolved into one of the provinces top elite female teams, and becoming ambassadors of the club, community, and region.”
Congratulations to everyone who has worked with the team and built the skills necessary to make this happen!
Sharing in the dreams of building a program
Together the Oshawa Turul Xtreme and Algoma University are looking to embark on a new challenge as they combine their efforts of sport/education and dreams of putting Algoma University on the map for both their soccer and academic programs.
Asima C. Vezina, President and Vice-Chancellor shares how this will provide a boost to the school’s soccer program; and Asima does not recall a situation where another school has this level of talent coming all at once is unheard of in Ontario University Athletics (OUA).
Asima says “These athletes have been playing together for years and now, they are coming 'together' to the same university to continue their love and passion for the game - one can only imagine what they will achieve while they are here.” It has been an exciting year for Algoma University, and Asima goes on to say “I have a feeling AU soccer will have a presence with this team at the provincial and/or national level - can't wait to see where this goes - this is just the beginning of the story!”
With similar histories between the club and university, and the feeling of “togetherness” at the university made it easy for the girls to connect with the University and staff.
Megan Chandler, Goalkeeper for the Oshawa Turul Xtreme shares her gratitude for the opportunity. “Learning that the whole team was offered a scholarship was so amazing and I am grateful that I get to continue playing with my best friends.”
“The best part about having the chance to pay at Algoma is that I get to continue to play with the family!” Jackie Wilson, Midfielder, Oshawa Turul Xtreme.
Oshawa Turul Soccer Club is a small club within Durham Region it was established in 1971 by Miklos (Nick) Springer with the support of the Hungarian Culture Club. Over the years thousands of boys and girls have proudly worn the Turul jersey. The Oshawa Turul Soccer Club has flourished over the years because of the contribution of many great people, players, coaches and administrators. The Club remains a vibrant and integral part of our community. Oshawa Turul Soccer Club
Algoma University is a small University in Sault Ste. Marie - is a post-secondary institution in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. Established in 1965, Algoma University is the smallest undergraduate-only university in Ontario. Algoma University
Back Row (left to right) Faith Holmes, Megan Chandler, Jayden Newhook, Jackie Wilson, Maria Fernandes
Middle Row (left to right) Katie Belfry, Sydney Conrad, Katie Nippard, Leigh Nippard
Front Row (left to right) Sabrina Adey, Jenna Crombie, Hayley Tremblay, Cierra Meredith
Player Info, and Quotes:
Sabrina Adey - # 80, Defender
Bachelor of Science - Psychology
“When hearing the news about the offer from Algoma I was so excited to be able to still be able to continue my soccer career in a place where it will be challenging both athletically and academically.”
Katie Belfry - #9, Midfielder
Bachelor of Arts
Megan Chandler - #1, Goalkeeper
Bachelor of Science Major: Biology and kinesiology.
“Playing at Algoma was very comfortable because everyone was so welcoming and kind. Learning that the whole team was offered a scholarship was so amazing and I am grateful that I get to continue playing with my best friends.”
Sydney Conrad - #24, Midfielder
Bachelor of Arts Major: English, then Teachers College
“When I first learned about playing for Algoma U i was very excited! Now I’m extremely excited knowing that I will be playing with some of my best friends at a great university! “
Jenna Crombie - #18, Defender
Bachelor of Arts - Social Work
“Getting the chance to play at Algoma was amazing. I was very excited when I found out about the offer, knowing that my other 15 teammates also got an offer made it even more amazing. I am very thankful that I have been given the opportunity to continue playing soccer after high school, with my friends at Algoma University.”
Maria Fernandes De Melo - #11, Stiker
“I feel honoured to be able to play for Algoma U. During the tour I fell in love with the atmosphere, the coaches and people at the campus. The sense of community and care for students made me realize how unique the university is. I look forward to be able to continue playing soccer with my best friends and to be a part of the AU community and the soccer program.”
Faith Holmes - #13, Defender
Bachelor of Science Major: Psychology
“After visiting the small town university - Algoma U, I instantly fell in love. Like most of the girls I wasn’t expected to be as amazed as I was about the sense of community they upheld and also the amount of support from all aspects of the university. When our manager Shelly informed us about the scholarships my heart dropped, everything I’ve worked so hard for in my soccer career had payed off! Although the soccer program here is in development I believe I can say for me and my team when I say we are excited for the challenge. Never had I ever thought to move 8 hours away to the smallest university in Ontario but I’m so grateful and blessed for the opportunity to do so!”
Jayden Newhook - #8, Defender
Bachelor os Science Major: Biology
“Well when we visited Algoma it felt like home, even though it’s so far from home I know I’ll have my second family with me. I never would have thought that I would be going to university to play soccer with my best friends. I’ve played with these girls for 4 years and we have amazing chemistry, I love that I get to be with them for even longer. This is something nobody expected and it still feels like a dream.”
Katie Nippard - #87, Striker
Bachelor of Science Major: Biology then, Masters and PhD (who has decided to graduate 2019 with her team)
“It was incredible to get the chance to play at Algoma. I was thrilled when I heard about the offer that was given to the entire team. Being one of the youngest players on the team & not graduating until 2020 I never really considered graduating early but after visiting and going on the tour I knew that’s what I wanted to do & now I will join the rest of the team fall 2019.
The coaching staff, students, and teachers were all so welcoming and it was nice to hear how easy it is to get involved. I can’t wait to continue playing with my older sister & our teammates at Algoma University.”
Leigha Nippard - #41, Centre Midfielder
Bachelor of Science Major: Psychology, then Masters & PhD.
“At first, I was almost sure I didn't want to go to Algoma U. I was set on going to the US, where the schools are big & soccer's bigger...But when I met the coaches, Nick & Neil, I had never felt so comfortable with strangers in my life. As the weekend progressed, we got to meet some professors at the university & I fell in love with the idea of small classes where I would be a person rather than a number. On top of that, I loved the idea of being underdogs... Being given a chance to make a comeback & shock everybody. By the end of the weekend, my whole team was offered a scholarship to play together at the university. It was a dream come true: playing soccer with the people I love. I couldn't be more excited for 2019.”
Cierra Meredith - #6, Defender
Bachelor of Science Major: Biology, then Veterinary school.
“I liked the small town feel and i am looking forward to playing soccer with my friends at Algoma University.”
Hayley Tremblay - #9, Striker
Bachelor of Science, Major: Psychology
Jackie Wilson - #17, Midfielder
Bachelor of Arts Major: Psychology.
“I felt happy when i found out about the offer because the best part about having the chance to play at Algoma is that I get to continue to play with the family.”