DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
In her younger days, Taryn Raabe wasn't always certain she wanted to play soccer in university.
Amy Anderson is glad she's changed her mind.
Raabe, a goalkeeper out of Dakota Collegiate and Bonivital SC, signed her national letter of intent this week and has committed to the Winnipeg Wesmen women's soccer program for the 2019 season.
She becomes the fourth officially announced recruit of head coach Anderson's class, joining midfielders Emma Friesen of River East Collegiate and McKaely Snider of U of W Collegiate, and midfielder/forward Tia Lecox of Ottawa.
"I had a couple of coaches say you'll regret it if you don't," Raabe said of the advice she got in perusing post-secondary opportunities. "It was kind of a last-minute thing for me. I think it was just the fact that one of my friends (Snider) signed and she was really excited about it, and it was just seeing her excitement that I thought maybe I was going to be missing out. … It was my fear of doing it, but seeing her (excitement) eased me into it."
Raabe, who also competed in volleyball, handball, track and badminton, will enrol in the Faculty of Kinesiology and have five years of eligibility.
In Raabe, Anderson has a player she believes will come in right away to compete for playing time. The Wesmen starting keeper position is open after last year's starter Madison Fordyce decided to forego her final year of eligibility and will instead join the coaching staff.
Raabe played her high school soccer with the Lancers boys team, an experience she said helped prepare her for the next step because of the higher pace of play.
Anderson likes what it did for her skills, too.
"She's one of the more athletic keepers we've brought in, and the great thing about her is she's going to progress," Anderson said. "She's fit, she's a strong worker and I think, too, playing with the boys has helped for sure. I see a confidence in herself and her athletic ability and you have to be quite confident to play with the boys."
Raabe said she hopes she can be seen as a leader from the back end.
"I'm very vocal, I can direct the field," said. "… I've done a lot of training so I feel like I'm well-rounded and I know the game having played for a long time."
Raabe said she formed an instant connection with Anderson.
"I loved her the first time I met her and it wasn't like she pressured me into anything," she said. "She was all ears about everything, wanted to get to know me as the player and not just 'I want you to play for my team.' It was good getting to know her and her getting to know me other than just specifically playing soccer. It was very personal."