Video Spotlight - Veronika Rogina

Langley, British Columbia - There are some people in the world who you just want to hang out with because you know you’re going to have a good time.

You know you’re going to laugh a lot. You’re going to learn a lot. And, in all likelihood, at the end of the day, you’re going to walk away a better person.

Reader, meet Trinity Western goalkeeper Veronika Rogina.

Her smile is infectious. Her attitude is ever-positive. And you’d pretty much have to be the Grinch’s evil brother not to enjoy her company.

“Veronika is one of the most loving, conscientious, real players I’ve had the privilege of coaching,” said Spartans coach Graham Roxburgh. “She’s dedicated herself to not only being a better goalkeeper and a better player, but I think she’s always pushed herself to be better simply because she wants to serve our team. She’s a consummate team player.”

Oh yeah, and if you somehow have missed her on-field contributions over the last five years of her career, she’s a pretty terrific goalie as well.

Rogina came to the Spartans in 2006 and, within a year, thanks to certain circumstances and injuries, found herself as the starting goalie for the Spartans. She played in 15 games, starting 10 of them, and it seemed TWU had its goalie of future.

But then, in Rogina’s third year, came goalie recruit Kristen Funk from Calgary and as, Rogina said, with a smile on her face mind you, “I didn’t play as much because Kristen came in, who was brilliant and amazing, and kicked my butt and that’s fine.”

But since then, Rogina has become about as perfect of a quasi back-up goalie (quasi because she’d be a starter on most other CIS teams) as one could have ever imagined. In the last three years, she has started six or seven games per year and while, of course, she’d like to play more, she said, “she wouldn’t change anything for the world.”

“Kristen has made me better as both a person and as an athlete,” Rogina said. “I am a competitor and I like to play and be on the field but if it means that the better goalie is out there and I know I’ve done my part to make her better, it’s not that I’m okay with it, but I’m okay with it.”

And in this, her final year in the blue and gold, she has continued push Funk as well as wreaking havoc on Roxburgh’s game day mental tennis match.

“Veronika has done what every goalkeeper should do if you’re not the regular starter and that’s to continue to make it harder and harder for the coach to make a decision,” Roxburgh said. “We’ve always said, we don’t have a No. 1 and a No. 2, we have a 1 and 1A.”

While Rogina may play the 1A fiddle a little more often than she’d like, she does more than her share of leading, vocally and by example, both on and off the field.

“She’s gracious and caring, but she’s a competitor,” Roxburgh said. “She gets frustrated when her teammates are not playing to their potential or training to their potential and she gets frustrated with herself when she makes mistakes.”

At one particular training session this year, a certain videographer was filming a drill late in practice. Things weren’t going well. The team wasn’t working hard. And Roxburgh was starting to steam.

Rogina, when she had a break from her part in the drill, looked over and quietly said, “You probably don’t want this. It’s not very pretty.” It wasn’t so much that she was angry with her teammates, but clearly disappointed. A sort of “Come on, we can do way better.” The sort of disappointment you get from a caring mom.

Her teammates affectionately call her V-Mama. And it’s clear why. She cares. And when her career is all over at TWU, Rogina will be remembered as a difference maker.

And I’ll you’ll probably want to go hang out with her too.

Last Updated: 2010-12-21
Author: Mark Janzen