First year Whitecaps’ forward making great strides in development ahead of NCAA showcase.
By Lev Jackson
From a young age, Whitecaps FC’s forward Margaret Hadley knew what she wanted to do. Her parents, Saskatchewan natives, had not kicked a soccer ball in their lives but their daughter started kicking the ball around at age five and has yet to stop.
Hadley, 16, a West Vancouver resident, will be one of the Whitecaps players going to San Diego at the end of this month for the Final Four Showcase put together by the NCAA, a tournament that
the Whitecaps grade 10 and 11 girls are chomping at the bit to play in.
“It’s going to be a really exciting tournament, we are playing three teams from Texas. It should be some really good games and hopefully it’s a lot of fun to go down there with our team,” said Hadley.
Hadley was on her way to bed the evening she got the invite email from the Whitecaps. Just before calling it a night she heard her mom running upstairs in excitement yelling, “I just got an email from the Whitecaps, you made the team!” Well, so much for Hadley’s hope of a good night sleep.
“I was just shocked, like what?!?” The enthused teen said. “I was just so shocked and excited I don’t even remember what I was thinking. I couldn’t fall asleep that night, I was just so excited just to be a part of the whole thing, to play with the players in the organization and I get to play with all my friends I made with the B.C. team and everything. It was probably one of the best days of my life.”
In getting the invite, she was able to reunite with her friends from the provincial team as well as other former teammates.
“There’s probably 12 or 13 of us [from the provincial team]. I played with a lot of them on my club team as well this past season. We’ve all become very good friends.”
Hadley credits much of the teams’ success and early season chemistry to the long-standing relationships between the players.
“All of us have pretty much played together since we were 13 or 14 years old.”
The email from the Whitecaps was not the first time that Hadley was the first person to overlook herself.
“My first provincial team was U14. I was picked in March when I was in grade 8. I was really excited because I didn’t really expect to make the team because I had never been on it before. It was really exciting. We went to nationals and won a silver medal that year.”
Since joining the Whitecaps Hadley has seen huge strides in her development as a player.
“I feel I have improved a ton already and it’s only been two months! It gets me excited for the next couple years to stay in the program.”
In seeing what just two short months can do, instead of “not expecting” to make teams in the future, she is very optimistic of her soccer future.
“[I want to] continue developing with the Whitecaps, hopefully get in contact with college coaches and get a scholarship,” she said. “Maybe even get the chance to play on a national team, or a U20 national team because the world cup is going to be in Canada, that would be a really cool opportunity if I could do that on top of everything else.”