Being away from home for an extended period for the first time and the mountain of commitments attached to being a university freshman was enough to detour Claire Hyatt’s soccer-playing desires.
Her improved confidence level in regards to handling post-secondary life and her unquenchable flame to push herself to the next level in her favourite sport was enough to bring them back.
The 19-year-old Pinewood resident will take her best at shot at making the Carleton Ravens women’s soccer team that plays in the Ontario University Athletics (OUSA) conference of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), the governing body of university athletics in Canada.
“I didn’t try out last year because of getting used to being away at university–and also because I was a little afraid that I wasn’t good enough,” confessed Hyatt, entering her sophomore year as a biology major at Carleton after a terrific high school career at the midfield position with the Muskie girls squad.
“But I don’t always want to wonder, ‘What if?’,” she added.
“I’ve got my classes figured out now and there’s other girls who are already on the Ravens who are also biology majors.
“If they can do it, I can do it.”
Hyatt began to shore up her belief that she had enough in her to play at the university level midway through last year.
“I was playing on an intramural team and we arrived for our game early and I got to watch the women’s team practice for half an hour,” she recalled.
“I was really envious and I thought, ‘That should be me out there’, even though I enjoyed playing with my intramurals team.”
Hyatt contacted Ravens coach Fred Juett and sent in a player profile that illustrated her soccer background.
She then played on a recruit team that played in a tournament against squads composed of portions of the Ravens’ main squad.
“We beat one of the Carlton teams, so that made me believe even more that I could play at that level,” stated Hyatt.
Hyatt leaves on Friday to head to Carlton to begin two-a-day tryouts on Saturday for a full week before the team is selected.
“They will take approximately 22 players, but there could possibly be as many as 50 at the tryout,” she predicted.
“I’m feeling good about where I’m at with my cardio(vascular level) since I’ve been playing midfield in both the women’s and men’s leagues here,” said the member of La Place Rendez-Vous/Taggs in the Borderland Soccer League’s female division and with Pharmasave in the male class.
“I don’t know if they’re going to try me out at midfield or on defence. I haven’t done defence all season, but it’s like riding a bike.”
Hyatt said she’s nervous, but confident going into the tryout–especially with two extra incentives attached to her quest.
“The deadline for switching classes for school is before the team gets picked,” she explained.
“I have to get a good idea early on if I’m going to make it so that if it’s not looking good, I’ll have time to switch my classes,” detailed Hyatt.
“But the dorms are not open until later in the month, so I’ll be sleeping on a friend’s floor for two weeks.
“If I don’t make it, being stuck sleeping on the floor is just not going to be as fun.”