Douglas College Royals forward Mikayla Hamilton was named tournament MVP during PACWEST provincials last week. (Douglas College Athletics)

Douglas College Royals forward Mikayla Hamilton was named tournament MVP during PACWEST provincials last week. (Douglas College Athletics)

Royals look to Surrey talent ahead of nationals

More than half of the women’s soccer team is made up Surrey players

Douglas College might not be a Surrey university, but you wouldn’t know that from looking at their roster.

Of the 24 players on the Douglas College Royals women’s soccer team, 14 of them are from Surrey or Delta.

The influx of talent from Surrey and Delta has helped the Royals become a powerhouse on the PACWEST women’s soccer circuit.

The Royals won the provincials in 2015, and finished at the runner up in 2016.

Last week, they won their two playoff games and were once again crowned as provincial soccer champions. They fly to Halifax to play in the CCAA Women’s Soccer National Championship from Nov. 8th t0 11th at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus.

“We have a lot of talented players from Surrey who’ve helped us get here,” said Royals head coach Chris Laxton. “After Kwantlen shut down their varsity program, we saw more players from Surrey make their way over here.

SEE ALSO: Surrey’s star forward Mikayla Hamilton leading the way for Douglas College

The loss of University sports at Kwantlen Polytechnic University had coincided with the Royals recent success.

“Surrey’s influence on our team is huge,” Laxton said. “It’s one of the reasons why we’ve been able to rebuild and reload so quickly.

With an abundance of prestigious soccer programs in Surrey, there’s no slim pickings when it comes to finding talented soccer players, especially on the women’s circuit.

The Surrey United women’s team narrowly missed out on a national championship in October, although the women’s U-15 girls team won the national title.

Laxton mentions that the Surrey players on their team hail from a number of respected soccer programs, such as Surrey United, Central City Breakers, Delta Coastal Selects and Surrey FC Pegasus.

Even though the Royals surely gain skill with the addition of players from Surrey and Delta, he notes that the loss of varsity sports at Kwantlen isn’t good for PACWEST soccer.

“It might benefit our team, but it’s a loss for our league. It would be better to have another talented team to play against.”

Laxton won’t have to worry about a lack of talented teams when the Royals start tournament action in Halifax.

Their first game takes place against the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) Ooks in a single-game knockout. The Royals are ranked fourth in the CCAA Women’s Power Rankings while the Ooks are ranked third.

It sets up a heavyweight tilt for Laxton and his group.

“It’s a tough draw for us,” he said. “They’re a good team with lots of good players, and they have one of the top programs in Canada.”

There’s a bit of a rivalry between the two squads, even on the national level.

“They beat us in the semi’s two years ago, and we beat them twice last year.”

The matchup between the two teams features the the best women’s university soccer players in the country from both B.C. and Alberta.

Megan Loyns of the Ooks won the ACAC women’s soccer player of the year. Forward Mikayla Hamilton, from Surrey, won the PACWEST women’s soccer player of the year in October.

Hamilton was at her best again during the provincial championships.

“She was the tournament MVP, and she was incredibly dangerous out there,” said Laxton. “[The Capilano Blues] were sitting back in the finals because they didn’t want to give her any room.”

Aside from Hamilton’s success and personal accolades, Laxton is proud of his team’s depth and chemistry as a whole.

“This year, more than ever, we’ve done it by committee. Different players have stepped up at different times. I think there is more depth here than ever before.”

With a potential three games in four days coming up in Halifax, Laxton and the Royals will need that depth in order to bring home their first national championship.



trevor.beggs@surreynowleader.com

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