Huskie becomes a Tiger

Going from a Saint Mary's Huskie to a Tiger

- September 26, 2014

Yates in action earlier this season.
Yates in action earlier this season.

Michelle Yates burst onto the scene with the Tigers this season, scoring two goals in her first appearance with the black and gold. It was a great start for the fifth-year midfielder, who spent the first four years of her career with none other than Dalhousie’s most fierce rival, the Saint Mary’s Huskies.

Yates was an AUS first-team all-star twice in her career and she was named a CIS second-team all-Canadian in 2012 on a scrappy, hardworking team that often exceeded expectations. She adds leadership and experience to a young Tigers squad.

Michelle grew up just outside of Halifax in Fall River, N.S. and playing for Suburban FC. She started playing soccer for the social aspect, like many of us. (She also was into ballet as a kid, but she says that’s another story!)

When it came time to decide on a school when she graduated high school, she’s pretty honest on what made her decision. Despite having a family of Dalhousie alumni, she chose to travel a little farther down Robie Street to Saint Mary’s.

“To be completely honest, I made my decision to go to Saint Mary’s at pretty much the last minute,” says Yates. "A lot of my friends were going there, and I wanted to stay local.”

On her time with the Huskies, she says she has nothing but good memories playing with a smaller program.

“I had a really good time at SMU to be honest,” laughs Yates. “People ask me what it’s like now to play at Dal, and I honestly love both, but I did have a great time at SMU.”

Aiming for a championship

One thing Yates never got to experience with the Huskies was an AUS championship. Being a smaller school, they would have to try and outwork their opponents as they had smaller numbers than many programs. She says that some years as little as 15 people would try out for the team, in sharp contrast to the 30-40 that tryout for Dal.

Now with the Tigers, she says the environment is much more competitive, and that everyone on the team, whether they’re a bench player or a redshirt, can find themselves in the lineup at any given time if they play well.

“Their work rate is much higher here [at Dal],” says Yates. “They’re very driven, and the fitness levels are much higher. Coming into training camp, most of the girls did very well in the fitness training which was very impressive to me.”

She says the Tigers coaching staff has been great and has been very helpful in her transition. She says the four-man coaching staff is very good at giving different opinions and views on her game and helps aid her progression.

Coming to the Tigers wasn’t a completely new experience for Yates, as she’d already played with many of the Tigers previously in summer soccer and knew their playing styles and preferences.

When asked about what she thinks this team is capable of this year, she’s cautiously optimistic, and knows that the AUS is an incredibly tough league.

“You need to have heart,” explains Yates. “You can have a great team, and still finish bottom of the barrel. Obviously, we’re very lucky to be hosting the AUS championship, but you’ve got to take it one game at a time. Any team can beat any team in this league.”

Watch Yates and the Tigers this Saturday as they host the Cape Breton Capers at 1 p.m.!


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