Hannah Rizun went straight from the Squamish Youth Soccer Association (SYSA) to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) and she’s quickly become a big part of the University Northern British Columbia (UNBC) Timberwolves women’s soccer team.
The 2013 Howe Sound Secondary School (HSSS) grad received a scholarship and decided to make Prince George her new home after taking a trip up north in the spring.
“My mom and I decided to check out the campus during spring break and I decided to email the coach to see if there were any opportunities on the team,” she said, noting she’s been involved with soccer since the age of five. “I went to the tryout, it went well and now I’m on the team.”
Rizun said she’s enjoyed her time playing in the midfield for the Timberwolves.
“It’s going great — I’m really loving it,” she said. “I’m loving the team and making a lot of friends and school is going really well too.”
It’s the second year that the UNBC soccer program has competed in the CIS, after many years competing in the Pacwest. The step up in competition hasn’t been kind to Rizun and the T-Wolves as the team has yet to win a game, but she said the team is building for the future.
“It’s been a slow start for us but if you compare the stats from last year to this year, our team has grown exponentially,” she said. “We were winning against Calgary [Sept. 22] but they won it in the 90th minute. We also tied Lethbridge so we’re definitely competing.”
Timberwolves head coach Andy Cameron told The Chief that Rizun has been a nice fit on the team.
“Hannah has settled into her role as a first-year player on the team very nicely,” he said. “Hannah has a high work rate and is a quick learner adjusting to our system of play. She is contributing as a first-year player and I look forward to her having a larger role as she matures as a second-, third- and fourth-year player in the program.”
Rizun was a stalwart with the SYSA throughout her youth, playing for a number of local travel teams and the Howe Sound Sounders high school team. She said she had opportunities to play outside of Squamish but chose to remain in town.
“I tried out [elsewhere] and could have played for them, but I was the captain in Squamish and it’s a hard thing to leave your team,” she said. “I decided to stick with the girls and I’m so glad I did — I had so many fun years playing with some of my best friends.”
Soccer wasn’t the only reason Rizun decided to go to UNBC. She said the school’s small class sizes and strong academic courses also helped her make the decision.
“There’s a lot of good philosophy and English courses here,” she said, adding she eventually wants to study law. “And the small class sizes were a big deal for me. My classes have 30 people and that’s great.”
One unfortunate aspect of the Timberwolves’ schedule is a lack of road trips near home. UNBC doesn’t travel to UBC this year and the closest Rizun got to Squamish was a game against UFV in Abbotsford on Sept. 6. She said she does miss her friends and family back home.
“I think they miss me — I hope they miss me,” she said, laughing. “I’m coming home to visit soon because we get a bye week but none of the games have been close enough for them to see.”
Rizun said she hopes the Timberwolves can continue to grow as a team and eventually build to a playoff appearance as they continue to grow and mature. Rizun and the T-Wolves regular season concludes against the Saskatchewan Huskies on Oct. 20.
For more information on the team, visit www.unbc.ca/timberwolves.