Posted on: March 13, 2018
Recruiting season has started for the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack women’s soccer team. Head coach Kelly Shantz and the WolfPack are staying close to home with the announcement of their first recruit for the 2018-19 Canada West season.
The first recruit for 2018-19 is centreback/midfielder Ainsley Grether of Kamloops, BC. Grether will graduate this spring from NorKam Secondary school. She plays with the Thompson Okanagan Football Club.
“TRU has always been part of my heart,” says Grether. “I have been watching the team since I was little and then I trained with them a few times in the off season. It gave me a sense as to what this club is all about!. When it came down to deciding where I wanted to be playing the next four or five years, Thompson Rivers is literally right in my back yard and gave me everything I wanted.”
Grether will be taking courses aimed at achieving a Bachelor of Sciences degree at TRU. She was also looking at attending the University of Alberta, University of British Columbia Okanagan and Acadia. She is happy to be joining a program which is making strides to improve its on field product. “In my eyes, Thompson Rivers is at a spot where a lot can change really fast with the right kind of players. Whether I was joining a number one ranked team or a last place squad, it wouldn’t change my work ethic. TRU has room for change and to build. If anything, that’s more exciting than upsetting for me.”
Grether believes her main strengths are as a strong leader off and on the field. “I love bringing that aspect to anything I’m doing. On the pitch, I’m pretty confident at my 1 v 1 physical battles. Playing such fast soccer in the BCSPL, I’ve also become quite good at making decisions well ahead of time and delivering a quality ball. I’d like to think I’m pretty good at heading and I have a good left and right shot.”
Jason Thompson has been her coach at TOFC. He is the Technical Director with the organization. “Ainsley Grether is a fantastic addition to the WolfPack not only from a playing perspective but also from a character perspective. She is technically, tactically and physically sound. She has a great attitude and is committed and willing to work hard not only at her own game but for her squad as well. She will be a fantastic attribute and I’m sure she will push for or win a starting spot.”
And earning a spot is something Grether is planning to do, “Obviously I can’t say I’m gonna start in my first year but I do believe that if I am fit and ready to play that I will be given the opportunity to step on the pitch and start helping this team to rebuild.”
She adds she will have to adjust her fitness regime to be able to conserve more energy. “I know that winning headers will be important and even though I think my foot skills are good, I’d like to work on them a bit more to become a bigger threat on the attack.”
Grether knows a number of the current WolfPack players but is most familiar with Madison Catt (Vernon, BC) whom she played against at TOFC and Cassie Morris (Kamloops, BC) who played high school soccer with her at NorKam.
Says Shantz about his first announced recruit, “I have watched Ainsley the last couple seasons both in the HPL (High Performance League) league and here in high school with Norkam and knew I wanted in her in our program. Ainsley will bring a great deal to our program right away I think. She has a long career with the BCSPL league and playing 90 minutes all the time against quality players so she should be ready to adapt to the pressure and skill level at the USPORTS level. She has been used as a central and wide defender which will give us added depth on the backline, but I also think her skill set is suited to playing in the central midfield and maybe even some striker, so she has plenty of opportunity here with the WolfPack and needs to come into training camp in August fit and ready to compete. Off the field, I have always found Ainsley a confident young lady who looks you in the eye, works hard on her craft and brings spirit and enthusiasm to everything she does and that will be welcomed in our team room and culture. Finally, always nice to add a local Kamloops player to our program! “
More women’s soccer recruit announcements will be coming in the next few weeks.
THROW INS- Grether on her favourite WolfPack player: “ I do remember going to see both the TRU men and women play. My all-time favourite WolfPack player is Taylor Miller. When I met Taylor at the same CrossFit gym, I remember thinking how cool it was to train with her, a WolfPack player!. She was and still is a wicked player to watch, and such a fast threat on the attack.
On appearing at Hillside Stadium for the first time in a Thompson Rivers uniform, “I think that feeling is what I’m most excited for right now. Hillside Stadium is my favourite place in Kamloops. I’m there all the time when I’m not on the road. Getting to step onto that field and play for TRU is going to be unlike any other time I’ve been there. I’m obviously a home town player so it will be pretty cool to see my friends and family there to support me.”