From the tranquil climates of the Comox Valley to the extreme heat of the Rio Grande Valley in South-East Texas is striking change. Two Comox Valley United Soccer Club graduates will be making the change to play soccer on scholarship with the University of Texas-Pan America this January.
Malia Irvine and Mackenzie McLeod will travel to Edinburg, Texas to join their team as it plays in its inaugural season. An NCAA Div. 1 school, UTPA introduced a women’s soccer program this year to play in the Western Athletic Conference.
Malia and Mackenzie will be playing against schools located throughout the Western United States from Kansas City in the Midwest to New Mexico State in the Southwest and as far North as Chicago State. They will return to the Pacific Northwest to play Seattle University.
When the girls join the team in January the school will have become the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley. The school is expanding and will become the UT-RGV to meet the needs of the growing local Edinburg and McAllen area. They are eager to find out if they will remain “The Broncs” or if the school will adopt a new mascot and team colours.
Malia, a graduate of Mark R. Isfeld Secondary, and Mackenzie, a Highland Secondary grad, played all their youth soccer with Comox Valley United Soccer Club. This past year both played on the Upper Island Soccer Riptide regional team.
The school scouted them after seeing Riptide play at the Western Canada Soccer Showcase this past April in Burnaby. Both girls have been top athletes throughout their youth careers in soccer and track. Provincial champions with CVUSC and members of the Vancouver Island Summer Game’s teams in soccer and track, both played as call-ups with the Vancouver Wave BC Soccer Premier League team. Each also competed nationally in track and had successful careers with the Comox Valley Cougars.
“Malia and Mackenzie are thankful for all the support and help over the years from their soccer, track and school coaches,” said Darrin McLeod of the Riptide Steering Committee. “The girls are very excited and raring to get started. Not so excited about the heat though. We wish them the best of luck on their soccer careers.”
– Riptide Soccer