Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – In a landmark result for MacEwan University at the national awards table, three members of the Griffins women's soccer team have been selected to U SPORTS all-star/all-rookie teams.
Centre-back Jamie Erickson made the U SPORTS first all-star team, goalkeeper Emily Burns was selected to the U SPORTS second team, and centre-back Sofia DiGiacomo was named to the U SPORTS All-Rookie team.
Erickson is the first Griffins student-athlete to make a U SPORTS first all-star team since the university joined the national organization in 2014.
Meanwhile, Burns becomes the second to make a second team (following cross-country runner Vanessa Trofimenkoff in 2014), while DiGiacomo is the third Griffin to make a U SPORTS All-Rookie team, following men's volleyball player Max Vriend (2015-16) and women's soccer teammate Hannah Supina (2018).
"It's been an amazing season and to have three people recognized at the U SPORTS level is something that doesn't happen on a regular basis," said Griffins women's soccer head coach Dean Cordeiro, who team enjoyed their best-ever regular season, winning the Prairie Division with a 9-2-3 record.
"It's a moment that I'm sure the institution and everyone involved are really going to enjoy."
Erickson, Burns and DiGiacomo received their awards at the U SPORTS women's soccer championship banquet on Wednesday night in Victoria.
Erickson and Burns finished their five-year university careers by both being named to the Canada West first all-star team, recognition for all that they did to make the Griffins the second stingiest team in the conference.
Erickson consistently repelled top strikers, while also chipping in at the offensive end with two goals and four points, adding another goal in the playoffs. Burns posted a 0.58 GAA, .849 save percentage and 6.5 shutouts during the regular season, adding two more clean sheets in the playoffs.
"It's a very amazing honour for those players and it's truly special," said Cordeiro. "Both of them have invested so much into this program since coming in five years ago. To see them be able to, in their final year, achieve U SPORTS first and second team All-Canadian recognition is just truly a testament of how hard these girls have worked both on the pitch and in the classroom. I'm just so super proud of them.
"They're amazing athletes, but better people. The character they have and the leadership qualities they have, they've left their legacy here at MacEwan. For Jamie to be first team and for Emily to make it on the second team, I know that they'll be really happy to get that recognition."
DiGiacomo, also a member of the Canada West All-Rookie team, had eight of her nine starts on the season come at centre-back, filling in for injured veteran Samantha Gouveia. She was a rock on the back line but also contributed four goals and an assist.
"We're super pumped to have another All-Rookie in consecutive years in Sofia DiGiacomo," said Cordeiro. "She's had a remarkable first year playing out of position and doing an admirable job. She's contributing goals and playing at centre-back, which is always a plus.
"She's an amazing 1v1 defender and is a leader back there for us. She's very good in terms of her angles and distances, and intercepting balls. And she's a beast in the air. She's the total package and she has a bright, bright future ahead. We knew she'd be impactful, but to see what she's been able to do already in Year 1 has been pretty special."