By Woodard, Dale on December 4, 2019.
The University of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s soccer team has just recruited a jack-of-all-trades.
The Horns announced the signing of local product Drew Dortman Tuesday afternoon at the 1st Choice Savings Centre.
The newest signing not only joins the Pronghorns as the first recruit from Pronghorn Elite Preparation (PEP) Academy, but also brings a flexibility that will give Pronghorns women’s co-head Ilsa Wong a variety of options on where to put her when the team heads into the 2020 Canada West season.
“I’ve played pretty much every position and wherever they want to put me, I’m happy to play,” said Dortman. “I’ve been training for centre and midfield.”
No matter where she lines up, Dortman is excited to make the jump to the program she has ample familiarity with.
“I already know the girls, playing and training with them, so it’ll be a really easy transition, which is nice,” said Dortman, who played with the Lethbridge FC of the Alberta Major Soccer League the last two seasons, playing 23 games.
“We got a couple of wins and we had a big team turnout with a lot of girls from the U of L and some college players, which will really help me to prepare for the university level, because I’m already playing against the girls in the USPORTS league.”
Originally from Spiritwood, Sask., Dortman started with the LFC at the U12 age group. She was a member of two outdoor provincial bronze medal-winning teams and the captain of LFC U16 and U17 teams.
Where she’ll play in her rookie season has yet to be decided, said Wong.
“But she’s strong. She’s also and intelligent soccer player, which will definitely benefit her no matter where we end up putting her.”
As a local player, Dortman has been on the Pronghorns radar for some time.
“She’s not only been a part of our Pep Program, she’s the first graduate of the Pep Program, which is going to be a really advertising piece for us in terms of getting more players into the Pep Program.
“She has also dedicated herself to training with our coaching staff on her own and that’s something that’s also very different for us. So it’s going to be exciting to see her prosper.”
Dortman has been training with Pronghorns co-coach Jack Reddy.
“I have access to all the training I need to be at,” she said. “The academy has helped me a lot with knowing the girls. They’ve helped me to educate myself on the program and know the expectations this program has for me.”
Though familiar with the team she’s joining, there will be some adjustments in making the jump to Canada West.
“I’m excited I get to play at a level where I challenge myself,” said Dortman, a multi-sport athlete who has excelled in volleyball in both high school at Catholic Central and club systems. “The best go on to play university and now you’re not the best. You have to work your way up and that’s exciting. You get to be better and everybody around you challenges you and that’s the most exciting part.”
“There are a lot of changes,” added Wong. “They tend to come from youth program where they’re the best player and when you have 10 of the best players coming in who are competing for time against players who have already played at this level for a few years it’s a big adjustment for them from a time perspective. They’re training five or six days a week and playing two games on the weekend as well and trying to do their schoolwork. There are some pretty significant adjustments they have to make. Plus, they have to figure out they’re not a 90-minute player anymore and maybe getting a few less than that and how to get better than they were.”
The PEP program started three seasons ago, running indoors in the winter and outdoors in the summer, and are for girls only looking to play at the USPORT or college level.
“We welcome all girls from the community and surrounding area who really want to spend more devoted time working on their technical skills and becoming more intelligent soccer players,” said Wong.
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