Athlete of the month: Drew Murray

Comeback ends in all-star pick

After not playing in her first two years with Vancouver Island University (VIU) Mariners women’s soccer team, Powell River’s Drew Murray made her debut season special. Murray, who plays fullback, was named one of 13 Pacific Western Athletic Association all-stars for 2017. In her senior year at Brooks Secondary School, Murray was a member of the 2015 team that won the BC School Sports Girls AA provincial championship.

How did you hear about the all-star pick?
I was at work when it was announced. I received a bunch of texts from my teammates saying, “Congrats, congrats!” I had no idea what they were talking about, so I was kind of confused. I was pretty excited because this was my first full season playing. Last year I was off with an injury; I broke my collarbone. The year before that I fractured it, so this is my first real season. I definitely didn't expect it, but it is a really good feeling.

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Was your play tentative coming back from the injury?
Not really, because I played with Nanaimo United FC premier team after my collarbone healed. I had quite a few games with them so I could get a sense of how hard I could fall. It didn't seem to bother me at all.

How would you describe your game?
Definitely physical. I have noticed my speed has gotten better since I've been with VIU, but I would say one of my top qualities is physicality.

Did you go to VIU on a sports scholarship?
No, I reached out to the program in my first year and just tried to get a few details about the team. I wasn't technically on the roster my first year; I was a part of the team, but I didn't get to do any playing. It's so surprising that in my first full season I’m an all-star because the first season I didn't really make the team and the second season I was injured.

Who was your first coach in Powell River?
Barry McDonald was my first rep coach; he was an amazing coach and gave me huge support. I played with him from U13 to U16, and then I played U17 and U18 in the Vancouver Island Premier League. For high school junior soccer we had Toni Marciniak and for senior we had Cam Miller, and both were amazing coaches.

How was the season for the Mariners?
We had a brand new coach and staff. Emily Rowbotham from Powell River is on the coaching staff after playing for five years. It was a little late in the game when we finally became organized, so it was a little bit messy getting started at first, but our new coach, Kevin Lindo, did a great job. We didn't do as well as we had hoped and ended up third in provincials. Last year we won provincials and the year before we won silver. It was a great dynamic and we played really well. I was definitely proud of our team and hope for good things next season.

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