It never hurts to make contact with a player while on the recruiting trail, no matter how long the odds.
When Red Deer College Queens soccer coach Dave Colley talked with Abby Rogers, he knew the Calgary native was looking at playing in the United States. However, after one year with Dodge City Community College in Kansas, Rogers decided to return home.
And thanks to her meeting with Colley, RDC was the first school she thought of.
“When I decided to come back, it made my decision easier to come here because I knew and had talked with Dave,” said Rogers, who felt the education side of the U.S. program wasn’t what she was looking for.
“It was an interesting experience, but after getting there I realized education has to be first, then your sport,” she said.
Rogers put a video on a website during her final high school season and was contacted by a number of schools across the border.
“I picked Dodge City because I felt it was smaller than some of the other schools … more like a family atmosphere, but I didn’t take into consideration the education part of it. Down there you go to a junior college then you still have to go to a four-year school. Here I can take two years and get something out of it. Then finish at university.”
Rogers, who is taking kinesiology at RDC, played a number of sports growing up, including field hockey (she played on the provincial field hockey team in Grade 11). But soccer was her first love. She played Tier I with Foothills prior to heading to Kansas.
She has always played defence.
“I tried other positions, but I’m most comfortable on the back end,” said the 18-year-old, who Colley says has the skills to be an all-star in the Alberta Colleges Women’s Soccer League.
“She reads the play extremely well and does all the simple things,” he said. “She sees where the ball has to go and makes the play. She can make the play across the field and the ball will land at the feet or just in front of a running player.
“She’s deceptively quick,” added Colley. “She knows the mechanics of the game and appreciates how the game builds. She can read the play ahead of time and I know Adi (Moyer) loves having her next to her. Adi knows Abby won’t go missing and knows she’ll get back when she has to get back.”
Playing next to Moyer, an ACAC all-star, certainly helps Rogers’ game.
“Having experienced players in the middle and being next to Adi guides all of us and she is someone we can look up to,” said Rogers, who doesn’t talk much about her game.
“I can’t even say what my strengths are, but I do know my weaknesses,” she said with a laugh. “I need to communicate more, open my mouth, and of course there’s always room for fitness.”
Like any defender, Rogers isn’t looking to score a lot, but doesn’t mind jumping into the play when she can.
The RDC squads opened their regular season hosting Medicine Hat on Saturday and Lethbridge on Sunday.
It’s a big weekend right off the bat for both teams.
The Medicine Hat Rattlers are hosting the Canadian women’s championships later this fall and Colley knows they won’t be a pushover.
“They always play us tough and by hosting the Canadians, you expect they had a good recruiting class,” he said. “Our goal is to finish first or no worse than second in the South Division so we need to get off to a quick start.”
Only two men’s teams from the south make the playoffs this season with Lakeland College, the ACAC championship host, already in the six-team playoff.
“That means we can’t be giving games away, which makes this weekend that much more important … we need to win our home games,” said Kings head coach Steve Fullarton.