They’ve been part of a groundbreaking group of provincial and national champions, and now four senior members of the Ottawa TFC elite girls’ Academy have solidified their plans to chase glory with varsity soccer programs both near and far.
“This is such an amazing group,” says Ottawa TFC General Manager Pavel Cancura, who coached the club’s under-17 girls’ team to Eastern Ontario’s first-ever national championship at the top youth level in 2019.
“It’s really great for our younger players to have these great athletes and people to look up to, and to be able to see that their hard work pays off,” Cancura adds. “A lot of them are coaches for us too and have been a part of the club for so long. We’re just so proud to see them move on to the next level.”
An Ontario Cup champion with Ottawa TFC’s root club Cumberland United in 2018, Sheridan Michel moved on to join Canada Soccer’s Regional EXCEL Program in Toronto.
“Although Sheridan isn’t with us full-time anymore, she always visits and trains with us when she returns home,” Cancura notes. “She definitely holds a very strong place in this graduating class.”
A former winger, Michel cried when her coach first moved her to centre-back, though the move has ultimately bore fruit as the Ottawa TFC player since age 7 is now set to join the Oklahoma Sooners in the Big 12 conference.
“I am beyond excited to be continuing my education and soccer journey at the University of Oklahoma next year,” indicates Michel, a past St. Peter Catholic High School student.
Kylen Grant will also head south of the border, though not quite as far, when she joins the Syracuse Orange.
“Kylen has the athleticism to make a great attacking back for our team,” states Syracuse Head Coach Nicky Adams, highlighting the future science student’s versatility on the back line. “She’s someone who brings great enthusiasm and a great attitude. Her coaches cannot speak highly enough about her character and what she brought to their team over the years.”
Grant built her athleticism through skiing, track-and-field and basketball on top of soccer, which the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School senior fit in despite her 35-to-40-minute hair routine.
Amélia Thompson will get closer to the TFC part of her club’s name when she joins the Varsity Blues and studies nursing at the University of Toronto.
“Ottawa TFC has always felt like home and I’ve always loved being around all the coaches, staff, and players,” signals Thompson, who treasures the memories from her team’s national championship run.
“That’s a moment I will never forget,” underlines the St. Peter senior who was born in Indiana. “I’ve also coached the young players in the club for 3 years and I love it. It’s what has inspired me to work with children in the future.”
After winning an unprecedented trio of Ontario Player Development League Cup, Shield and League crowns, Juliann Lacasse joined Ottawa TFC’s Sr. Girls Academy for her final year of youth soccer.
“I’ve gotten to play with a great group of girls here,” highlights Lacasse, whose passion is soccer, though she also has a soft spot for musical theatre.
The Colonel By Secondary School senior has enjoyed reuniting with one of her first goalkeeper coaches in Shane Goski at Ottawa TFC, and she’ll soon rejoin another one of the early formative forces in her soccer journey with David Bellemare at the University of Ottawa.
“The local youth goalkeepers will definitely look forward to seeing one of their role models play on Gee-Gees turf,” shares Cancura. “And we’re so excited to see what amazing things all these players will continue to do in their university and college careers.”