When it came right down to it, the post-secondary opportunities for Natalie Frenette worked out perfectly.
Frenette fell in love with soccer when she first first played in the U4 Timbits program, and when the MacEwan University Griffins offered her a spot to compete with the U-Sport team next season she couldn’t turn it down.
“Soccer has always been my thing,” said the 17-year-old Notre Dame student. “I jumped at it when the opportunity with the Griffins came up. It’s been a dream of mine to play college or university soccer.
“I had a number of other offers, such as RDC and a college in California, but MacEwan is coming off a great season. They were one of the better teams in the Canada West and it was a good offer. I will see how it goes.”
Frenette, who has played first caught the attention of the MacEwan coaching staff when she practised with the U18 program against the Griffins.
“It went well and they asked me back to their I.D. camp and it went from there.”
Frenette began playing elite soccer with the U10 Red Deer Renegades as an eight-year-old. She continued with the Red Deer City Soccer Association and the Renegades.
She also played soccer with Notre Dame, as well as volleyball and track and field.
The five-foot-seven Red Deer native plays either wing in the midfield, but could play a number of positions.
Frenette realized when she was young she had speed and she worked on that by competing with the Red Deer Titans Track Club.
She did well on the track, at the provincial level, and in high school. She also finished second at the provincials in long jump when she was with the Titans.
“I joined the Titans when I was in Grade 6 and started volleyball at the same time,” she explained.
Frenette played power for the Notre Dame Cougars senior volleyball team, but didn’t compete in club volleyball this season, as she concentrated on soccer. She will continue on with high school track and soccer.
“I will as I want to play as much as I can with my teammates with this being my final year in school.”
Natalie, who has won four provincial medals over the years, will play with the Renegades in the Alberta Major Soccer League, prior to joining the Griffins in late August.
She played last season with the U18 Renegades and the Major League club.
“It’s great experience,” she said. “I get the opportunity to play against a lot of players I will be playing with and against with MacEwan.”
Frenette is looking forward to the Major League season and working with her long-time coach Esad Elkaz, who also took over as RDC Queens coach this season.
“He’s coached me for several years and he’s really good,” she said. “RDC was an option for me before and a lot of the girls who play with the Queens will be with the Renegades. It’s a good way for them to prepare for the college season.”
Frenette, who was the Alberta Sport Development Centre — Central female athlete of the month for February, will be working out at Ignite during the summer.
“The MacEwan trainers sent me a preseason workout schedule that their players all use,” she said. “I train two or three times a week at Ignite, so I should be ready.”
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter, who can be reached at email@example.com. His work can also be seen at Danny’s blog at rdcathletics.ca