Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – The recognition for Jamie Erickson's talents on the pitch has grown to an international level.
MacEwan's reigning female athlete of the year and Canada West first team women's soccer all-star has been named to Team Canada's football entry at the 30th FISU Summer Universiade in Napoli, Italy July 3-14.
"It's an honour to be able to represent Canada at something," said Erickson. "It's what everyone who plays sports dreams of from the time they were little. Just to make that a reality is amazing."
The talented fourth-year MacEwan centre-back attended a tryout camp in Toronto last month and was overjoyed to learn she survived the final cuts.
"A lot of disbelief," she said of her reaction. "I wasn't expecting it at all. But then I was just overjoyed that it was a reality. I called my family and let them know the good news."
"It's going to be an exciting opportunity to represent Canada," said MacEwan head coach Dean Cordeiro. "Not everyone gets to say that. I'm pumped for her because I know she's going to leave it all on the pitch. She's a gamer and they're going to get her best."
Although the Edmonton native played in the heart of the MacEwan defence in 2018, consistently tasked with shutting down the best players in Canada West, Erickson tied for the Griffins' lead in goals (4) and points (7) and was named the team's most outstanding player for a second year in a row.
"All her hard work and dedication is starting to come through," said Cordeiro. "As a coach, you're just so happy. It couldn't have happened to a better person. She's all about the team. There's nobody who works harder than her in the weight room. Every day that goes by in the off-season she's going to the pitch, working on her free kicks. She continues to hone her craft as a footballer. She's a winner.
"When you have players like that, you feel confident going up against anybody on a week-to-week basis in our conference. She's going to help us elevate our program and get to the next level."
With teammate Burns having twice been a member of Team Canada at a FISU Games (2016 and 2018), Erickson leaned on her for advice when attending the Toronto camp.
"Emily has been great. The whole week I was in Toronto she was checking up on me, making sure everything was going good," she said. "It also was nice – going to Toronto I didn't really know anyone – but through Emily I started talking to people. We had a bunch of mutual friends and that definitely made it a little bit easier."
Erickson was wowed by the talent level Team Canada has. Whether or not that will translate into success at the Universiade against tough international competition remains to be seen, but she's optimistic.
"Going to Toronto was such a humbling experience playing with not only the best from our conference but from across Canada," she said. "The skill level is out of this world. I think we have a good shot. I haven't seen the competition we'll be up against, but I think we have a really solid team."
Like her teammates who've come back from FISU experiences, Erickson believes she can elevate her play with the Griffins in 2019 – her final university season.
"I think from a confidence standpoint, no matter who we'll be up against, I can kind of know in my head that it's not the first time I've been up against steep competition.," she said. "So it will hopefully not only increase my confidence, but the team and hopefully get us to nationals."