The University of Northern British Columbia Women’s Soccer team has added a major dose of skill and poise to its backline, officially announcing the commitment of Surrey product Jaslin Mandaher for the 2021-2022 Canada West season.
“I feel extremely excited, happy, and grateful that I’ve gotten the opportunity to play at such an amazing school. It has been a dream of mine to play at the U SPORTS level for the longest time. To finally see the hard work and effort I have put in over the years pay off is a really good feeling.”
Due to restrictions prohibiting campus visits and identification camps, the 17-year-old experienced an unprecedented recruiting period. Though unable to visit the Prince George campus, she identified UNBC’s academic and athletics programs as the ideal next step for her journey. The honour roll student points to the Timberwolves’ three consecutive conference playoff berths as a cherry on top for her decision.
“UNBC just really stood out to me. It is a top-ranked school in Canada, it offers small class sizes, and I truly believe I will be getting a good quality education when I am there. Of course, the athletic program is amazing. The Women’s soccer team is everything I have ever imagined. It is definitely the place I want be spending the next four or five years at.”
Timberwolves coach Neil Sedgwick identified his newest recruit’s unique combination of athleticism and mental understanding of the game. As the TWolves face a future without defensive starters Mara McCleary, Julia Babicz, and Lydia Lavigne, he is thrilled to add a player who projects to impact games like Mandaher.
“We are really excited to add Jaslin to our program. She comes with a strong foundation, high-level experiences, and an appetite for competition. She is a really experienced defender who sees the game well and is comfortable in possession. I was impressed with her focus, and really think she will develop into a tremendous player for us.”
Standing five-foot-six, Mandaher has as an athletic frame and profile, combined with tremendous poise when distributing the ball. She is hopeful she can build on those traits and make an impact at the highest level of university soccer in the country.
“I have very good vision of the pitch, and I am able to read the game very well and position myself correctly to win the ball. I love distributing the ball from the back, making plays, and connecting passes. One of my specialties is free kicks. I love taking free kicks and corner kicks. You might even see me score from a free kick one day.”
A product of Fraser Valley FC, under the watchful eye of coaches Mark Slater and Danny Pietramala, Mandaher has grown as a player every season. As a centre back, she will be tasked with shutting down the opposition’s most dangerous attackers, but she is up to the challenge of taking the step to the Canada West level.
“I am most looking forward to playing my first game as a Timberwolf. Being able to represent UNBC and playing the game at a high-intensity level. Going from club to U SPORTS will definitely be an interesting experience. I know the speed of play will be way quicker, and just playing with players five years older than me with high skill level will be quite the challenge. I am up for it, and can’t wait to improve my game as a player.”
Set to graduate in June from Ecole Panorama Ridge Secondary School, where she played for coach Derek Duke, Mandaher will join her new UNBC teammates in the summer for training camp. She plans to enroll in UNBC’s Sciences program, with an eye towards pursuing the field of medicine. But before she potentially dons a white coat, she looks forward to wearing green and gold, and continuing a lifelong journey on the pitch.
“Soccer is a huge part of my life. I have been playing since I was seven and I have obviously developed a great passion for it over the years. It is also an escape for me. When I step on the pitch, I am able to forget about everything going on in my life, and just play and have fun. I truly can’t imagine my life without it.”