Becca Ferguson - Shine Your Light

Becca Ferguson

Women's Soccer
Forward/Midfielder
Third Year
5'7"
Education

There comes a point in every athlete's journey when the opportunity to give back to the community they came from presents itself. Whether or not the athlete takes that opportunity, exposes their ability and ultimately their desire to look beyond themselves and their own advancement to see the potential for growth and achievement that resides in those around them is a determining factor in the development of ones place in life. Spartan forward Rebecca Ferguson's life genuinely reflects this altruistic concern and consequently her influence and strength of character has not only been felt on the Spartan soccer pitch or in her native Calgary, but has resonated with people around the world.

Rebecca began her soccer career in what she describes as the "kick-run-have-some-fun-soccer-league" in her hometown of Calgary, Alberta - where her mom coached the team and her dad was her number one super-fan. While soccer was a staple of her childhood, Rebecca explored a wide variety of sports including swimming, cross-country and basketball throughout elementary and high school. It was only when she was 16 that she began to narrow her focus and pursue a more serious career in soccer. "I was definitely a late-bloomer," says Rebecca of her soccer career. "I didn't start zeroing in on it until I was 16, but as soon as I did things took off."

That year Rebecca was called up onto a U-18 club team to play for them at the national championships where they finished third. She also became deeply immersed in her club soccer team, Celtic Forza, which she fondly notes, "was so much more than a team - it was a sisterhood. My teammates became my friends and then my friends became my family. But what I really learned during that time was about the commitment from not only our parents but from the coaches."

It was that respect for the coaches, the parents, and all those that invested their valuable time in her, which prompted Rebecca to start looking for ways that she could give back to those around her. In her final year of high school had her chance and she became the Assistant Coach of a local U-10 girls team. "I absolutely fell in love coaching," says Rebecca as her eyes light up. "Just knowing that every move I made could have such a huge impact on such a tiny person was incredible. It felt like a big responsibility but I realized that all I had to do was to teach them about what I love - soccer."

But her love affair with coaching and giving back to her community was just beginning. Rebecca transitioned into life as a Spartan but returned to her job as a coach during her summer breaks. "For the past two summers I have been working as the Junior Technical Assistant at the Chinook Soccer Club in Calgary. I worked with various teams coaching them for short periods of time and working to develop their technical skills," explains Rebecca. "It was great that soccer became a job for me but the best part was seeing the kids progress over the summer and watching their passion grow as they learned more and more skills."

While Rebecca was becoming increasingly involved in her local community, nothing could have prepared her for the adventure that got handed to her this past June when, at the last minute, she was persuaded to join the Athlete's In Action (AIA) team on their tour to Paraguay. "It was instant pandemonium when I decided to go but it was the best decision I have ever made," recalls Rebecca. "I have never been to a non-English speaking country let alone to a third world country and it was amazing. I knew my job was simply to love the kids that we interacted with and in the end I received so much more love from those kids than I, as one person, could have ever given."

After a two week, 10 game marathon against the U-17 National Team (2008 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup qualifiers), the top Paraguayan university teams and a number of elite South American club teams, the AIA squad took the next two weeks "off" and headed up six kids soccer camps. It was this experience that has left an indelible mark on Rebecca. "I loved being with the kids and just teaching them what I knew about the game I love," she says. "It wasn't the gifts we brought or even the soccer we taught them, it was the time we spent with them that seemed to make the biggest impact on them."

Spartan's Head Coach Graeme Roxburgh, who also headed up the AIA tour to Paraguay, is quick to point out that it is the combination of Rebecca's athletic talent and her desire to serve that makes her such a unique and valuable player. "Rebecca is a tireless worker and is incredibly versatile. I have always been impressed with her dedication and servant-heartedness to our program," he reflects. "With such a young team, it is great to have players like Rebecca's who, while still in the middle of her career, has demonstrated a commitment to our program that others around her can follow. I also know that while she has played well in her first two years, the best is still to come from Rebecca."

The best, whatever it may be, is something that excites her. With anticipation about this season and the ones to come, Rebecca is sticking to her motto - shine your light. "On any given day, in any situation, up on the field or on the other side of the world, give what you have and give it all for the sake of those around you and just let your light shine from within you," she says. "For me it's simple, I give it all until I have nothing left. And then I give a little more."

 

Last Updated: 2008-10-14
Author: Scott Stewart

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