Video Spotlight - Jilian Dietrich

LANGLEY, British Columbia - Trinity Western defender Jilian Dietrich is typically unflappable.

Since coming to the Langley-based campus in the fall of 2008, Dietrich has been a steadying mainstay on the Spartans back line, averaging 1,611 minutes per season in her first three years and, going into this weekend, having played a total of 5,196 minutes in blue and yellow.

In her play at outside back, she’s been the definition of consistent and rarely is overwhelmed by anything thrown, or most often kicked, her way.

But when she was made aware that the interview for this story would be conducted with a video camera as the recording implement, that cool as a cucumber soccer-playing persona seemingly disappeared.

Suddenly she was nervous, giddy and up front about the fact she might just start nervously giggling halfway through an answer.

But judging by the resulting question and answer period, even the most nervous Jilian Dietrich is still pretty darn composed. Even if she doesn’t think so.

And it’s that consistency in her ability to stay calm under pressure – even if in some cases the pressure is just the presence of a Flip video camera – that has kept her in the starting lineup pretty much since the beginning.

“She’s incredibly smart,” said Trinity Western women’s soccer coach Graham Roxburgh. “She reads the play well. She’s good at distribution and her defending one on one is excellent.”

This past summer, Dietrich’s already impressive soccer-playing resume was bolstered as she was named to Canada’s FISU Games team for the second time in a row. She was part of the Canadian side that finished seventh in Belgrade, Serbia in 2009 and would have been a key member of Canada’s roster this past summer in Shenzhen, China.

Unfortunately for Dietrich, prior to leaving for China, she suffered a concussion that forced her to decline the invitation.

“We decided it wasn’t the best thing for me,” Dietrich said. “Obviously it sucked at first but it turned out we had the best preseason ever. So it worked out for the better even though I missed out on an awesome opportunity.

“I didn’t want to play scared or come back too soon and potentially get injured again. At the end of the day, I’d rather be with this team than the FISU team.”

But while she’s clearly committed to Trinity Western now, is excited about this year’s challenge of pursuing what would be her third national championship and says she “wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” three years ago, she almost didn’t even come to TWU at all.

In her final year at Bishop Carroll High School in Calgary, Alta. Dietrich was thinking about quitting soccer. She didn’t have any aspirations to try her university luck south of the border and was considering going to the University of Alberta, but more to go to the same school as her sister Jaclyn rather than play on the soccer team.

But then on an impulse recruiting trip to Trinity Western she started to fall in love with the team and players like current captain Melissa Mobilio, who has since become one of her best friends. Some urging from her dad followed and soon enough she was a Spartan.

“I remember my Dad saying, ‘At the end of the day, this is an awesome opportunity and if you hate it, you can always change your mind. You can always leave. But you could be wasting something that is so awesome.’ And I thought he was right and I’d give it a try.”

Since then, her soccer career has risen from the near dead.

“Her stature has grown in leaps and bounds both on and off the field,” Roxburgh said. “She’s a quality player and a quality person and I think that shines through in both how she plays and how her teammates respect her off the field.”

For Dietrich, that’s kind of the way it’s been with soccer. She started when she was four years old playing with her brother’s team and, while literally touching the ball once her entire first season and doing more picking grass and chatting with her friend than anything else, the game grew on her.

At TWU, the same thing happened. It grew on her pretty fast.

And she grew on the Spartans just as quickly and pretty much since day one has been a model of consistency on the Spartans back line.

Last Updated: 2012-08-17
Author: Scott Stewart