The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack women’s soccer team will enter the 2012 PACWEST team as the defending champions. Bad news for the opposition, the WolfPack will look a whole lot stronger.
Thompson Rivers, who lost only one player (Ashley Piggot, Prince George, BC) due to graduation, has signed a number of top recruits, the latest being midfielder/striker Marlie Rittinger (Ashcroft, BC). Rittinger, who played her minor soccer in Kamloops is returning home after “red shirting” in 2011-12 with Simon Fraser University.
“I?m very excited to be home and to play before my friends and family on a regular basis,” said the 5’7” Rittinger, considered by many to be the top player in her age class in the BC Interior. “I went away last year and it wasn?t what I expected. I can’t wait to play for TRU – it’s a place I wanted to go to school and play for since I was young.”
Head Coach Tom McManus has had Rittinger on his radar for the last few years as she came up through the ranks of KYSA. “Realistically, she is a player who can go anywhere,” he said. “She can play at the back and do a wonderful job. She plays midfield and even up front and score some beautiful goals. I, personally, see her as a strong midfielder who likes to get herself forward and is great defensively. I am debating where I want to play her in the midfield.”
He adds that her decision to come to TRU fits in nicely with his dilemma of how to fill that open spot in the midfield that Piggot vacated. “All the girls know that they have to work hard when they come back in because we have a lot of really good players coming in. The girls from Kamloops (Rittinger becomes the sixth local player to commit to the ‘Pack for 2012) will do a good job.”
Rittinger played minor soccer with current WolfPack players Katie Sparrow, Taylor Miller and Sara Fertile. All three were once ball-girls at WolfPack matches while playing REP soccer.
McManus sees her strong suit being as a leader. “She is very fit and vocal. She will tell people what she wants done and tells them what they should be doing. She is great in the air and passes a brilliant ball. She has a superb shot. To me, she is a great all-around player. We wanted to have her last year, but she had committed to SFU.”
Rittinger is happy to be playing the WolfPack’s possession style soccer. “I was playing a different style with SFU and it wasn?t what I was used to. I think my connection with the rest of the girls will help with the adjustment to Thompson Rivers.”
She is playing summer soccer in the Pacific Coast Soccer League with the Kamloops Heat, where many of her former minor soccer and future WolfPack teammates are preparing for the upcoming collegiate season.
Rittinger will be enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in her first year at TRU. “I want to get back into the flow of things and then hopefully go into the Nursing program.”
She is looking forward to making an immediate impact with the WolfPack come September. “I hope we can go to the Provincials and go to the Nationals.”
The WolfPack open their 2012 PACWEST season Saturday, Sept. 8 at Hillside Stadium against Douglas College.