Long way from home - Woodward coming from US west coast to join Rams
Claudia Woodward wanted the best experience post secondary education could offer. And she’s traveling across the continent to get it.
The 18-year-old Sammamish, WA., resident recently committed to Dalhousie Agricultural Campus, where she will pursue an Environmental Engineering degree and patrol the pitch for the Rams women’s soccer team.
“I was thrilled to get the email from coach Jackie (Ryan) letting me know I was being invited to play for the Rams,” Woodward, a holding midfielder, said. “I’m excited to meet her and my teammates and build some new friendships. I hope I will be a contributing member and help the team win games.”
Woodward started researching schools two years ago as a Grade 10 student in the fields of Environmental Engineering and Marine Biology. Dalhousie Agricultural Campus immediately popped up, along with the likes of McGill, the University of Waterloo, the University of Alberta, Oregon State and Washington State. She toured them all, but there was something about the small Bible Hill campus that just drew Woodward in, despite it’s distance from home.
Coming from a small high school, Woodward liked the small class sizes and the chance to work closely with professors at Dalhousie AC. She was also impressed with the friendly, community spirit on campus and the chance to play a sport she loves while studying.
Ryan welcomed the player with open arms. Woodward has a reputation for being able to turn her team from defensive mode into attack. She is strong on the ball and comfortable with it at her feet, offering reliable protection for the Rams back end. She provides a threat from free kick situations and also comes with a tireless work ethic and an endlessly positive attitude.
The Rams have improved steadily since Ryan took over the program in 2012, climbing from the basement of the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association to missing a berth in the conference playoffs by just one point last year after posting a 5-7 record.
“I think Claudia is going to be a great addition,” Ryan said.
Woodward also has an impressive soccer resume. She played last season for Crossfire 98 Select after spending the previous five seasons in the BYSC (Bellevue Youth Soccer Club) Select program. She is an all-year player, also honing her skills in indoor soccer in the off season.
Even while at home – Sammamish is a city of about 60,000 located 25 minutes East of Seattle, Woodward faced stiff competition in the backyard from three younger brothers.
She and her siblings were introduced to the game by their father, who grew up in England and played at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.
Rams soccer ladies add skill, experience
DAL AC squad hopes newest players can aid push into conference playoffs
A pair of off-season additions could be just what the Rams need to get them over the hump this Fall.
The Rams women’s soccer squad recently received commitments from Pictou County duo Katie Walsh and Veronica Deno for the 2017 campaign and coach Jackie Ryan couldn’t be happier.
“I’m extremely excited to have Katie and Veronica join our program,” Ryan, who has been at the helm of the team since 2012, said. “I am thrilled that they have chosen Dal AC to pursue their academic and athletic goals.”
The Rams missed a berth in the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) playoffs by just one point last year after posting a 5-7 record.
Ryan didn’t have to look much further than her own backyard in Stellarton to find her latest recruits in an effort to crack the Top 4 and earn a spot in the conference championship tournament. Walsh, a 21-year-old centre midfielder, lives just a few doors down from Ryan and both Walsh and Deno, a 21-year-old central defender from Westville, play together for the Northern Nova United senior women’s side in the Highland Soccer League, a team which Ryan also serves as a player-coach. Ryan has also coached both players during their high school days with the Northumberland Nighthawks.
Both Ryan and her two newest players hope their past together can help the Rams in the near future.
“Katie and I have played many seasons together in the past so hopefully we can pick up some of our old chemistry,” Deno, who recently graduated with a human kinetics degree from St. Francis Xavier University and who plans to take additional science courses to upgrade in preparation for an application to Physiotherapy, said. “I think having Jackie as a coach and teammate in the past gives me some insight into what she is looking for on the field.”
The pair also bring a truckload of valuable playing experience. Along with her senior and high school credentials, Walsh has also spent three seasons with the St. Francis Xavier X-Women and helped the school to an Atlantic University Sport (AUS) title last season.
“She is going to have an immediate impact on our program and will be a leader on and off the field,” Ryan said about Walsh, who will also be upgrading her science credits in preparation for a post-grad program in Dentistry or Education
Walsh is looking forward to lending her skills to the Rams.
“I’m excited to get back on the pitch with Jackie and meet some new girls and see what this league is all about,” she said. “Jackie is going to want me to keep the pace up and get the ball moving. The AUS is definitely an intense league and you need to stay composed and I want to bring that here.”
Ryan feels the addition of Deno will help make a solid defence, which surrendered just 23 goals in 12 matches last season, even tighter.
“Veronica is a fearless defender,” Ryan said. “She’s agile, aggressive and strong in the air and her work ethic and grit will strengthen our back line.”
The Rams have made steady improvements in the standings since Ryan, the reigning conference coach of the year, took over and started using her connections to recruit for the squad. Deno hopes the tradition continues this Fall.
“I think what Jackie has done with the team so far is great and I can’t wait to be a part of what she has planned for this season. I’m hoping to be an effective defender and contribute to the yearly improvement of the team.”
Maxwell set to join Rams - Truro striker hopes to lead Dalhousie AC soccer team to success
Shanice Maxwell has tasted success nearly everywhere she’s gone on a soccer pitch.
Now the 24-year-old Truro resident wants to add to her playing resume as she takes to the field for the Dalhousie AC Rams this Fall in what is likely to be her final kick at the can in competitive soccer.
“I’m so excited,” Maxwell, now a hairdresser at Victoria Court Hair Salon, said. “I think it’s going to be awesome to play at home and I just want to finish things off with a bang and make this team proud.”
The striker already has an impressive list of accomplishments to her credit. She is a former member of Canada’s national under-18 program, won an Atlantic University Sport (AUS) championship with the Cape Breton Capers in 2013, was an AUS All-Star in 2012 and helped Suburban FC to a provincial senior women’s club title in 2012 and led the Cobequid Cougars to a provincial high school final in 2010.
Rams coach Jackie Ryan is looking forward to helping her newest player add to those credentials and hopes Maxwell could be the piece that helps the Rams solve the puzzle of success. The Rams haven’t won an Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) title since 2006.
“Shanice’s talent, coupled with her playing experience, is exciting news for the program,” Ryan said. “She should be very exciting to watch.”
Maxwell will be attending the Bible Hill campus for a semester while studying marketing, leadership and taking arts classes to upgrade her academic credentials for career and workplace potential.
Although Maxwell graduated from Cape Breton University with a Recreation Leadership degree two years ago, she wanted to continue to expand her studies. She talked with Ryan about the prospect of attending Dalhousie AC and joining the Rams while the pair played together for the North Nova United senior women’s side last summer.
“Once Jackie came to me and said we could make it work I just said ‘Yeah, definitely. Let’s do it.’”
Maxwell will give the Rams a healthy injection of intensity and her experience should make her a leader on the squad. Her strength and speed make her difficult to take off the ball and Maxwell has a nose for the net, nabbing a Golden Boot award for leading the Nova Scotia Soccer League’s senior women’s division with nine goals as a member of Suburban in 2012.
The Rams have steadily improved since Ryan took over the reins in 2012 going from the basement of the seven-team conference to finishing fifth last year and missing the conference playoffs by just one point. The team’s improvement saw Ryan nab the conference coach of the year award.
Maxwell, who expects to be used as a striker or attacking midfielder for the Rams, said she wants to help the program continue it’s upward swing.
“They have definitely improved from where they were and I think this is the year we can definitely do something,” she said. “The girls definitely have potential and I think with a little boost of confidence things can definitely happen.”
On paper it certainly looks that way. The Rams should terrify opposing defences as Maxwell’s pace, power and clinical finishing ability joins up with third-year striker Sian Rankin’s talents. The Edmonton, AB., native was a CCAA All-Canadian and the team’s MVP last year after pumping in 17 of Dalhousie’s 23 goals to lead the ACAA. She also topped the conference with 34 points to earn herself a spot on the ACAA All-Conference team.
“The combination of a CCAA All-Canadian and a former AUS All-Star with national team experience could make for a pretty dangerous combination,” Ryan said.
Maxwell said she plans on bringing her competitive playing days to an end at the conclusion of the season, although she will still continue to lace up her boots with North Nova. She also hopes to take on a coaching role somewhere.
“I want to finish things off with a bang,” Maxwell said. “This could be my last chance so it’s exciting.”