Alix Varchol has spent the first two years of her soccer career with the UBC Thunderbirds learning.
Being one of the younger players on the women’s squad, she is waiting her time to shine.
As she learned more about the Canadian Interuniversity Sport style of game through practices and watching games, her team captured its first national championship since 2006 on Nov. 15.
“It was a very exciting and good experience. We all worked really hard,” said Varchol, a Pinnacles Football Club graduate. “We put in a lot of effort all season. It was our main goal of the season to win. It was really exciting to end up actually achieving that goal.”
The Thunderbirds accomplished the feat in a 3-0 victory over the Trinity Western University Spartans.
“We have always had a good rivalry against them. We played them four times throughout the season,” said the Summerland native. “Playing in the final made it that much more, almost better to win.
“It’s always been a good battle between us. It’s always a lot of bragging rights for whoever wins,” she continued.
As much as Varchol would have loved to play, watching and being part of the atmosphere and the team in the change room before and at half time was a great experience.
“I’m happy to be part of that,” she said.
Varchol’s coach Marisa Kovacs said she was an important part of the win.
“Alix is everything you want in a teammate and her positive attitude and willingness to grow and learn as a player has had a huge impact on our team culture,” said Kovacs in an email. “Regardless of if Alix is playing 10 minutes in a preseason match or 90 minutes in a championship game, she prepares herself and her teammates with everything she has—she pushes the players around her to be better and is extremely coachable.”
A mid-fielder converted to striker, Varchol said there has been a lot for her to learn at that level compared to playing in the Okanagan. As tough as it was not playing, Varchol has seen that the university style is harder to play and that she has catching up to do.
Varchol and Kovacs recently met for the players’ exit meeting and talked about the future and Varchol feels positive.
“Alix has huge potential to make an impact on the field for our team,” said Kovacs. “I think this season she took steps in the right direction and if she continues to work and grow as a player we will see her out on the pitch before you know it. Spring season will be key for Alix and her development. I know with her work ethic she will take every opportunity presented to her and run with it.”
“All the girls who play before me are such great soccer players,” she said. “It’s such a high level. Watching is even amazing for me.”