In a Surrey school known mostly for academic achievement, some talented teens are putting Fraser Heights Secondary on the athletic map.
Soccer is the name of the game for this talented group of girls, who are seeded number one in the junior Fraser Valley Championships currently underway.
“We’re like the number one team right now but that doesn’t mean anything to us,” said Sureeta Rai, Grade 10, a longtime soccer player who has played with the team since its creation just last year.
“We know from now on, each game we go into, it’s going to be just as tough,” Sureeta added. “It could be one goal and we’re down. Any team can beat any team at this point. It’s important for us to keep battling and hopefully we pull through as a team.”
Straight out of the gate last year, the girls placed first in the league, and landed third in the Surrey championships.
But this year, the girls won it all at the Surrey Secondary Schools Athletic Association (SSSAA) championships on May 3, edging out rival Semiahmoo Secondary in a penalty kick.
“It was a great experience,” said Jessica Gill, Grade 9. “As soon as Salina (Ali) saved that last goal, we were all just running towards her. We were all so happy. We wanted it.”
The girls are in for another battle against Semiahmoo Tuesday night in the Fraser Valleys, and that game will determine who will play in the Thursday night championship game.
“They’re a good team, and we know we have to be ready to go,” said coach Dale Gill. “They’re a talented group, we’ve got a talented group — it’s on.”
The girls nodded in agreement.
“Until the whistle blows, it’s not over,” Sureeta said. “We’ll be fighting until the very end.
“That would be a really proud moment,” she mused of a Fraser Valley win. “It doesn’t only make each other proud, but it makes our whole school proud to know, wow, no one really realizes, especially for soccer, no one thinks Fraser Heights. For us to win that? It would kind of prove a point to other schools. Ok, they’re here to play. We’re in it.”
Another one of the coaches, Glen Payne, said he’s “as proud as I’m going to be” of the junior team, which is made up of roughly 20 students from grades 8, 9 and 10.
“If we win (at the Fraser Valley championship), that’s a bonus,” added Payne. “But I’m very, very proud of how they played in certain games. They were down a couple against Semiahmoo in the Surrey championships, and they came back. They were caught by surprise in the first few minutes of the game and they came back. I think it really says a lot about a team when they have the ability to have the resolve to come back and battle the way that they did.”
Coach Matt Newton nodded.
“What’s special about these girls is that they’re very determined individuals and they fight hard, every single one of them,” Newton said.
So it seems Fraser Heights is a now a soccer school?
“For the girls,” they all laughed in unison.
Stay tuned to surreynowleader.com for results from the Fraser Valley championship game Thursday night.