Michelle Knowlan of the Kwantlen Eagles gets a grip on Paige Llewellyn of the Capilano Blues during a PACWEST women’s soccer game at Newton Athletic Park last year. The Eagles will host the national championships in Newton Nov. 6-9.

Kwantlen to host soccer nationals in Newton

Eagles will play in Surrey's CCAA national championship tournament.

The regular season begins this weekend, but the Kwantlen Eagles are already assured a place at the CCAA (Canadian Colleges Athletic Association) women’s soccer nationals.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) will host the Canadian championships Nov. 6-9 at Newton Athletic Park, and as hosts are guaranteed to be one of the eight teams participating.

“The KPU players are extremely excited to have the opportunity to play for the championship in front of their home fans,” said Assistant Coach Joan McEachern. “It is a unique opportunity the players will seize in a phenomenal four days of soccer from the best CCAA teams from across Canada.”

The Eagles would prefer to qualify for the nationals, something they have done twice before as provincial champions in 2009 and 2010. Kwantlen won a bronze medal at the 2009 national tournament, and has qualified for the provincial tournament for four of the past five seasons.

KPU has hosted several major sporting events, although the national championship tournament will be a first at that level. Sport-event experts and leader sit on a university committee which has hosted the 2007 and 2010 BCCAA (British Columbia Colleges Athletic Association) provincial soccer championships, and co-hosted the 2012 PACWEST (formerly BCCAA) provincial basketball tournament.

“Hosting this championship is a significant event not only for KPU, but also for the City of Surrey. The tournament will highlight KPU’s women’s soccer program, which has been in existence for 10 years, as well as showcase KPU’s ability to host a national tournament,” McEachern said.

Newton Athletic Park is just blocks away from the Surrey campus of Kwantlen Polytechnic University. The stadium has seating for 1,000 people, and students at elementary, high school and post-secondary schools can receive free admission with valid student ID.

KPU also has several volunteer opportunities available to the general public. Applications are online at http://cms.kwantlen.ca/Page13556.aspx?PageMode=Hybrid

This year’s PACWEST (Pacific Western Athletic Association) season begins Saturday, as the Eagles are in Burnaby to play the Langara Falcons. A day later, they travel to Squamish for a 1 p.m. kickoff against the Quest Kermodes.

The 14-game PACWEST schedule concludes Oct. 21, and will be followed by the PACWEST provincial tournament Oct. 26-28 in Nanaimo, an event hosted by Vancouver Island University.

The Eagles went 5-4-5 (won-tied-lost) in the 2012 season, placing fifth in the eight-team league and missing the playoffs by four points.

Kwantlen’s men’s team will also play on the road against Langara and Quest this weekend. After a 6-5-3 regular season, the Eagles placed fourth in the playoffs.

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