Surrey United striker clinches title for Canada

SURREY — It wasn’t too long ago that Jordyn Huitema was scoring goals against boys.

The 13-year-old Surrey United Soccer Club striker scored one of the most important goals of her career last month to clinch the CONCACAF Girls’ U-15 Championship.

Canada won the tournament, hosted by the Cayman Islands, beating Haiti 4-1 in a penalty shootout after the final ended in 1-1 draw on Aug. 17.

This was the first time she has competed at the national level and said scoring the winning penalty was the most pressure she has ever faced.

"I tried to stay calm so it wouldn’t affect how I shot," Jordyn said.

"I stayed calm until I saw the ball hit the back of the net, then I kind of went crazy."

Added her father, Roger Huitema, about the penalty shot: "It still sends chills through my body."

The Chilliwack native has spent the last two seasons playing in the EA Sports BC Soccer Premier League with Surrey United.

Prior to that, she was playing in a boys’ league in her hometown.

Roger knows that it was quite a commute for his daughter to play in Surrey, but he wanted to give her the best chance to succeed at the "family sport."

"It is a commitment. My son Brody played in Coquitlam (for) all his years of soccer."

"They ultimately grew out of the calibre of soccer in Chilliwack and had to come to a more competitive league than they were in," Roger explained.

"Jordyn actually never played girls’ soccer until she came to Surrey."

Jordyn has always played soccer at a competitive level, whether it was with the boys in Chilliwack, or playing against girls a year or two older than her at the CONCACAF championship.

Last week, she was announced as a part-time player with the Whitecaps girl’s elite program, which allows her to train with some of the most talented girls in the province.

Jeff Clarke, the technical director of Surrey United, said the entire community supported Jordyn while she competed in the Cayman Islands.

"Our primary focus at Surrey United is about player advancement. It’s about pushing players outside of the club into higher levels, whether that be provincial teams, national teams and colleges eventually one day," said Clarke.

Canada didn’t lose a single match at the tournament.

They beat Costa Rica 8-1 and Trinidad 1-0 in the knockout rounds before beating Haiti in the final.

kyle.benning@gmail.com

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