The Red Deer Polytechnic Queens soccer team has played on a different level this season.
With only one loss and a commanding 10 wins on their record in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) play, the women’s squad is poised to make some noise in the playoffs.
None more so than Queens striker Sein Furuyama who on Saturday while on the road against the Medicine Hat Rattlers broke the ACAC single-season goal record with her 27th of the season in a two-goal performance.
The previous record of 26 goals was held for nearly a decade by NAIT’s Kayla Michaels during the 2014-15 season. But as the old saying in sports goes, records are meant to be broken.
“I’m pretty happy… I am proud of my team because I could not have done this without everyone on the team,” Furuyama said in an interview through text.
The Queens also broke the ACAC team record for most goals in a season with 84 goals. The record was also held by NAIT since the 2019-20 season with 77 goals. With one more game in the regular season this Saturday against the Olds College Broncos, the Queens could add more to the total.
Furuyama believes the Queens have one of the best teams in the league because of their great teamwork and a sense of team spirit. When asked if she thought the Queens could go all the way to the league championship this season, Furuyama is confident in her team’s ability.
“Sometimes we don’t play well but we can fix it every time. We had good conversations with each other about how we can win the game. So, I believe we have the ability to win the ACAC championship,” she added.
The Kobe, Japan native, who played soccer at Fukui Senior High School, came to Red Deer during the middle of last season but was unable to play because she wasn’t enrolled in any classes yet.
In order to stay in Canada Furuyama had to enroll in classes for the semester and through the summer all while learning English in the process.
Furuyama explained studying in Canada was a dream of hers since she was a child and before her future was decided, wanted to experience living abroad. Of course, she also wanted to come to the great white north to also play soccer and hopes to one day play professionally.
“I thought coming here would be a good experience for me because if I come here I can learn English, I can play soccer, and I can get a scholarship,” she said. “I also like the countryside.”
She began playing soccer at seven years old and originally played center back, which is primarily a defensive position. Despite playing a more defensive role she knew in her heart she was always an offensive player and would score a lot.
Scoring was comfortable for her. The moment she went around a defender and decided to shoot was what excited her the most. She also loves to get her teammates involved.
“I love soccer. It makes me pretty sad sometimes but I couldn’t stop it because I love it. Everyone’s support gives me a fighting spirit. It’s nice to see people smile when I score a goal,” she added.
Eventually, Furuyama will return to Japan to study education but hasn’t decided on her future just yet. Plan A is to become a professional athlete but becoming a teacher is also a dream of hers.
Head coach Mahziar Peyrow said he was impressed by Furuyama’s record-setting performance.
“I’m so happy to see all of this publicity for her. She just got CCAA player of the week today and ACAC player of the week… It’s unreal,” he said. “Her overall play this season has been outstanding.”
In addition to what Furuyama has done on the field, Peyrow is equally impressed by what she’s had to accomplish as a student. Having to stay focused in school in order to be eligible to play while learning a new language is an accomplishment in itself.
“It was challenging for her… All of those things pushed aside that she’s done well with she has to perform in-game so she’s done extremely well,” he said.
When first recruiting Furuyama to the Queens, Peyrow said he had minimal game footage to look at but wanted to add a high-calibre striker to the roster. Peyrow had spoken to an agent who he worked with before to bring Japanese players to Canada, and after Furuyama was mentioned Peyrow took a chance. He hoped she would be just as skilled as the import players he previously brought to the country.
And as the regular season comes to a close this weekend it’s safe to say it was the right decision.
“I’m glad that she was.”