Soccer striker Coole decides to head east to StFX
GUELPH – While McKenzie Coole has been a multi-sport athlete at John F. Ross CVI, she’ll turn her athletic attention solely to soccer.
Coole has decided to attend St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., where she’s to play for the X-Women in Atlantic University Sport conference women’s soccer starting late this summer.
Athletes reaching the end of their time at high school are usually torn between leaving the Royal City or staying. There are probably an equal amount on both sides, but Coole knew she wanted to check out somewhere outside of Guelph.
“It’s close to my Dad’s side of the family,” she said of StFX. “I always kind of wanted to get away from Guelph and I wanted to be a bit independent. Nova Scotia was that perfect mix. I still have family there, but I’m also more independent.”
Visits to university campuses are often the deciding factor and that was the case for Coole.
“It was a really nice school and everyone was really nice,” she said. “It’s a smaller school and I didn’t want to go to a really big school. It was kind of perfect.”
Coole will be studying health science at StFX which has an enrollment of around 4,000 and that makes it about a quarter of the size of the University of Guelph.
StFX finished the regular season in fourth place in the 10-team AUS league last fall with a 5-3-4 record before winning both their quarter-final and semifinal matches at the championship tournament. However, they were edged 1-0 in the final by the Cape Breton Capers who had finished first at 10-1-1.
“They’re recruiting around nine people, including me, and they’ve always been a very strong school,” Coole said.
StFX’s roster of 25 for the 2018 season included eight players who were either in their fourth or fifth year of eligibility and it also included nine players from Ontario.
“They’re losing quite a few people this year so that’s why there is such a big recruiting class,” Coole said.
A striker, Coole has been a leading scorer with both Ross in the D10 league and with various Guelph Soccer teams in summer play. However, she knows that playing time for first-year university players can be minimal.
“You have to go in with an open mind,” she said. “I have four years and I intend to play all four years.”
Soccer hasn’t been Coole’s lone sport at Ross. She has played basketball in the past and this school year has played volleyball and field hockey where she was an all-star goalkeeper.
“It was so fun. I loved it,” she said. “I’d never played field hockey before.”
Soccer, though, has always been her favourite sport.
“I just like scoring goals and the whole team aspect is nice,” she said. “I’ve always found it to be fun.”
Good news for the other D10 schools, Coole will not be playing for Ross this spring.
“I’m only here for one semester and a month and then I’m going to Spain for two and a half months,” she said. She’s to be an au pere there which will also give her a bit of a chance to see the country.
When she returns she figures on playing for Guelph Soccer’s U21 women’s team this summer and that could be the final time she puts on a Guelph soccer uniform as she is undecided at the moment whether she’ll come back to the city from Nova Scotia during the following summers.
“I may stay and play there and get a job there,” she said.
- Guelph Sports Journal