Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Jackie Tessier trying out for FISU's Team Canada (Updated)

The 2013 FISU Summer Universiade takes place this July 6th through 17th in the city of Kazan, in the Republic of Tararstan, part of the Russian Federation. One of Kingston's top female soccer players is hoping to be part of the women's team that Canada is sending and headed off today for the final round of tryouts.

Jackie Tessier, fresh off her fourth season with the Queen's Golden Gaels, and a third national medal in a row, left today for Burnaby, BC for a chance to make the final roster of twenty players that will be heading to the games this summer. She is following in the footsteps of Brienna Shaw and Riley Filion who played with the women's team in Harbin, China in 2011.

Queen's Gaels Jessie De Boer and Riley Filion were both invited to this year's first round of tryouts at the start of December, but both had to, unfortunately, decline, leaving Tessier to carry the Queen's flag through to the final round of thirty-five in British Columbia.

Speaking with Tessier this past weekend, she expressed her excitement at getting to play against some of the top female university players in Canada, and said that she was really looking forward to playing with University of Manitoba Bisons' Julie Lafreniere again, a player that she last played with in youth soccer when their Manitoba team went to the Canadian Club Championships, finishing second. The two have been talking constantly since their selection to the final tryout squad, and both are the sole representatives of their schools.

The camp begins with meetings on Wednesday, followed by fitness tests on Thursday morning. There will be intersquad games in addition to games against UBC and the Vancouver Whitecaps, putting the prospective players in a large number of gameplay situations before they wrap up on Sunday afternoon. The final roster will be selected and the players notified by early April.

At the university level, Tessier has an impeccable resume, scoring fifty-six goals over her four year career with the Gaels. In her rookie year, she scored three goals, tying her for fourth most on the team that season, despite mostly being used off the bench. The following year, 2010, she became a full starting striker and made her mark on the CIS scoring an astounding eighteen goals in sixteen games, including five goals against Trent University, the most in Canada. That year, she was named the OUA East MVP, CIS First-Team All Canadian, and CIS Tournament All-Star, as she helped the Gaels to their first national championship in over twenty years. She tallied her fiftieth CIS goal against Carleton on September 26th, 2012, scoring a hat trick in the game, and was named OUA Female Athlete of the Week.

When asked about her time with the Gaels, Tessier said that the past four years with Queen's Soccer had been such an amazing experience and really enjoyed the good, strong family feeling that the team had, saying that to her, it was the truest definition of a team. Some highlights during her time with the team included the five goal game, the fifty goal barrier, her bicycle kick goal against the University of Alberta, being the top scorer in Canada and winning the first national championship, and being able to play in three consecutive national finals. The only low point that really stood out was the loss in her rookie season in the 2009 CIS semifinals in Toronto. She also pointed out that whenever she or another player on the team faced mental or emotional low points, her team-mates pulled together and helped each through them.

This summer, Tessier is planning on playing with Kingston United's premier women's team in the Ottawa-Carleton league, even if she has to miss a few weeks to go to Kazan with Team Canada. She is also hoping to return to Fort Henry to a position there as an interpreter, as she has done the last few years. Regardless, her plan is to try to make enough money to help fund her trip to the tryout and the games, as players have to cover their travel costs for the tryouts, and the trip to the games will cost close to $3000 per player.

In a few short months, Tessier will be graduating from Queen's University with a Bachelor of Music, but plans on staying in Kingston, working and performing music whenever possible. She has just finished a successful two week run with the Queen's Players in their most recent show, The Wood, The Chad and The Fugly. After taking a year off of school, she hopes to return to Queen's University to do a Continuing Education degree in 2015-16, and use her final year of CIS eligibility.

When asked about how she balanced her schoolwork with music and soccer, she responded saying, "Balancing is always a challenge. It is totally doable, especially being around people in the same situation as you, acting as a family. You are surrounded by people who will support you. Above all, the experiences outweigh the work is takes to balance life, soccer, and school. It is made worthwhile by the whole experience."

Update: After a successful training camp, Jackie Tessier was named as one of the players on the final team heading to Kazan this summer for the games.

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