Canadian players bring skill, experience to Badgers

first_imgCanadian native Monica Lam-Feist is one of three Badgers to travel south for soccer from our neighbor to the north.[/media-credit]Soccer is often referred to as a world sport, one which is played internationally at a very high level. With three Canadian players on the team, the Wisconsin women’s soccer team has certainly bought into that notion.However, this is not a coincidental or lucky recruiting class for head coach Paula Wilkins. For freshmen Paige Adams, Monica Lam-Feist and Lacey Warner, playing for the Badgers is a continuation of their play as members of Canada’s national team.“We have a bit of a connection with [Canada], with Tim’s uncle,” Wilkins said, referring to assistant coach Tim Rosenfeld, another Canadian. “We have some familiarity with them.”Rosenfeld’s uncle, Bryan Rosenfeld, is the head coach for Canada’s under-17 national club soccer team. This allowed for a competitive advantage for the Badgers in recruiting players from Canada.The three girls did not come as a package deal, but were all talking to each other throughout the recruiting process. A former Wisconsin soccer player — Amy Vermeulen — was the first Canadian in line to play for the Badgers, and she is credited for bringing along Adams, having played club soccer with her back home. From there, the recruiting of other Canadian players took care of itself.“Paige came, and she had a connection and knew one of my former players (Vermerulen). That precipitated with her recruiting Monica, and Monica recruiting Lacey,” Wilkins said.While Paige had a connection to Wisconsin in a former Badger player, she was recruited independently of that fact. Interestingly, it was her stellar play at a tournament that caught the Badger coach’s eyes.“I went to a showcase tournament in Las Vegas, Paula was there, and she just started recruiting me after that,” Adams said.Little did Adams know the domino effect her decision to come to Wisconsin would have on the future of the program. When asked about Lam-Feist’s arrival in Madison, Adams smiled and took full credit for landing her. The duo are both from the same area in Canada and knew each other growing up.Lam-Feist is a freshman from Surrey, British Columbia, who has become one of the team’s premier players in her first year. She has started 12 games for the Badgers so far this season and is second on the team with two assists. One of the top youth players in all Canada, Lam-Feist was named the Under-17 National Player of the Year in both 2007 and 2008. She also captained the U-17 Canadian national team and appeared in the U-20 FIFA World Cup in Chile.In addition to her impressive accolades before coming to Madison, Lam-Feist is also a big reason why the team has yet another Canadian freshman making an impact. Despite Warner being from the complete opposite side of the country from Lam-Feist, the two bonded while playing for the Canadian national team.“She was one of my good friends [who] I’ve roomed with at camps [and with the national team] before, and she told me that she committed to Wisconsin,” Warner said. “I was talking to Wisconsin, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. So then I came on my visit and I loved it.”She may have come to Wisconsin regardless of Lam-Feist or Adams’ decision, but according to Warner, the Canadian connection was one of Wisconsin’s attractive aspects that other schools couldn’t offer.“It was more of a turn-on to come [here] because they were here,” she said.In addition to having an immediate impact on the team’s chemistry and record, the three freshman players all bring international experience to a relatively young team, something Wilkins noted as a valuable addition to her squad. According to Wilkins, their knowledge of the game is unparalleled by most college soccer players.“They come with a great pedigree playing with World Cups and such,” Wilkins said. “We know we needed that experience with a young team here.”last_img

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