Girls Elite player Donald hopes to star for ‘Caps and break into U17 national team
By Ross Armour
At just 15 years of age, Sam Donald is one of the youngest players on the Vancouver Whitecaps Girls Elite team this season.
Yet there’s a saying in soccer that is “if you’re good enough, you’re old enough” and no doubt three consecutive turnouts for the provincial team is good enough to back up this girl’s talent.
Donald, who attends Johnston Heights Secondary School in Surrey, began playing soccer at age seven after inspiration to get involved from her parents.
She began her early playing days involved numerous spells with local side Surrey United as well as an invitation to join up with the NTC (National Training Centre) program, with BC Soccer.
Donald turned out for the provincial at the U13, U14 and U15 level and this is her first year with the Whitecaps.
“I was very excited when I got the email from the Whitecaps,” she said. “My goals are to get a scholarship to a university or college on the west coast and make the U17 national team. I also want to continue to make the Whitecaps teams in future years.”
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In a week, the Whitecaps Girls Elite squad will head off to San Diego, California, for the three-day event NCAA Final Four Showcase– an opportunity Donald hopes to take with both hands.
“It’s a great opportunity to go to San Diego and show myself and get my name out there for people to scout me.”
Donald is part of the U18 Whitecaps set up, thus has a lot of older colleagues.
“It was really comfortable to get to know the rest of the girls. They make you feel really welcome.”
She described her first training session with the ‘Caps as “very nerve-racking” without knowing what to expect.
“The speed of the training was certainly faster and the quality was higher. It’s a more strict environment,” said Donald. “It was scary as most of the other girls were much bigger.”
Donald is coached by Jesse Symons, a man who she portrays as a “really good coach who pushes yourself to do better.”
“He makes me believe I am just as physical and just as good as the older girls,” she said.
This will be Donald’s first trip to San Diego, something that she envisions being a “fun experience and a great way to bond” with her fellow Whitecaps players.
She sees her schooling future involving physiotherapy, with possibly becoming a physiotherapist or a trainer at the end of it all.
“I think it would be really cool to know all the muscles and how they tear and what you can do to prevent that from happening and prevent injuries.”
Donald signed off by saying that she sees herself staying in the sport for “years to come.”