Amelia Crawford turned an unfamiliar position into an all-star award and a national title to close out her university soccer career in spectacular fashion.
The Richmond native’s final duty as captain of the UBC Thunderbirds was accepting the U Sports national championship trophy and banner Sunday night in Victoria after a 1-0 victory over the Calgary Dinos.
Crawford entered her fifth and final season as an established forward with the Thunderbirds. However, head coach Jesse Symons asked if she would consider playing fullback in his mainly 4-4-2 formation. The Hugh Boyd graduate took the challenge head on — using her skills as a winger to attack from the back but also the defensive responsibility that comes with the position.
“It was definitely different at first,” she said. “I played a little bit of centre back when I was younger but much of my youth career and four years here were at forward. “You are receiving the ball much earlier with a lot of field in front of you and it’s more supporting the attack than trying to score.”
UBC served notice it would be a playoff force by eliminating conference champion Trinity Western in the CanWest semi-finals. The T-Birds then proceeded to win three consecutive 1-0 games at nationals, with the victory against Calgary avenging a 1-0 loss a week earlier.
The outstanding defensive record was reflected in Crawford being joined on the tournament all-star team by freshman and Richmond native Jacqueline Tyrer, along with goalkeeper Emily Moore.
“Goals didn’t come easy for us all season but at the same time we were confident we could win it all. It was so exciting (accepting the national trophy). I thought about not only all the hard work we put in this season but over the last five years as well.”
It’s Crawford’s second national title after helping UBC win on its home field back in her first season. Now she busy catching up on studies after a hectic and most memorable run.