Print Edition: November 28, 2012
The athletics program here at the University of the Fraser Valley has become very successful in recent years, giving many student athletes the opportunity to compete at the highest levels of sport and play against some of the top universities across Canada. Some of these athletes have made UFV their home for the last five years, leading up to their graduation this coming spring.
For our women’s varsity soccer program, goalkeeper Chantelle Biagioni and defenceman Donna Pinning have left their mark at UFV. After five years of growth and achievement, they’ve decided to put up their cleats and move on to the next chapter of their lives. With graduation slowly approaching, it was the perfect opportunity to reflect on their history, highlights, and future plans beyond the green and white jersey.
Tell me about your history, where are you from and where did you play before UFV?
CB: I’m from Pitt Meadows and I’ve lived there my whole life. I played for Surrey United prior to signing with the Cascades.
DP: I was born and raised in Chilliwack and I still live there. I began playing soccer when I was 13-years-old for Chilliwack FC and continued to play there for my entire youth soccer career.
What has been your favourite memory being on this particular team?
CB: To be completely honest, I can’t think of one single favourite memory. There have been so many memories that will be with me forever whether it was a happy, sad or accomplished memory. But, if I had to choose one, it would be seeing my younger sister in goal winning a bronze medal at Nationals in a shootout against Montreal. Not only was I so proud of my team, and the accomplishment we had just achieved, I was so unbelievably proud of my little sister, who had seen no league games up to that point and absolutely killed it!
DP: If it has to be just one, it would be going to Nationals and getting to sing when we won bronze (after every win, our team sings “Lean On Me,” but that one time was like no other).
How have you seen the team grow or improve during your time here?
CB: Since I’ve started with the team, I’ve seen so many changes going from a senior team to a young team and changes in skill. I think the biggest change I have seen is the growth of the team becoming a family. The girls and staff on this team become a huge part of your life, seeing them every day and seeing each other at some of your most vulnerable moments. It’s amazing and this team is really an awesome thing to be a part of.
DP: Coach Rob has done a great job at recruiting and improving our team as a whole and players as individuals are becoming more developed through the program. He has done a great job in-season and off-season training. He keeps striving to improve the team physically and mentally; through our off-season workouts and with setting goals for our team. It’s the push from the coaching staff that pushes the players.
What has, in your opinion, been the team’s biggest accomplishment during your time at UFV?
CB: The biggest accomplishment our team has had was winning the Canada West Championship and finishing third at the Nationals in P.E.I. back in 2010.
DP: The biggest accomplishment was winning Canada West and then receiving bronze at Nationals. I’m proud to be part of the first team from UFV to ever accomplish that. But I think there’s future opportunity for the team to achieve the same, if not better, in the next couple years.
What is it that has kept you playing soccer through your university career? What do you love about it?
CB: The atmosphere! Just being a part of something so big with a group of people, sharing the same goals and ideas and devoting yourself completely with these girls that have become your family. Honestly it’s the team that has kept me here all five years. They are amazing!
DP: The dynamic of the team is huge. The girls and the coaches really make the difference. But also, the feeling of winning! After all the time and hard work you invest in your sport!
What have you most appreciated about being a part of UFV?
CB: For me, it would again have to be the atmosphere. I feel a sense of comfort here at UFV and that it is the best setting I could ever have while working on my degree.
DP: I appreciate how much I developed as an athlete and as an individual. I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I can put myself through to achieve what I want.
In one sentence, what is the most important piece of advice you have for students of UFV?
CB: Don’t let the time pass you by, it goes faster than you think!
DP: It’s a quote that our coach used to tell us . . .
“If you don’t invest very much, then defeat doesn’t hurt very much and winning is not very exciting.” ~Dick Vermeil [former NFL coach]
I think that it can be related to everything you do in sports and life in general.
And finally, where are you going from here?
CB: I have future soccer aspirations that I am working towards at the moment. I want to continue playing at a competitive level and at the moment, I’m playing with the premier team in Burnaby.
DP: From here, I graduate in April. I’m hoping to be accepted into the T.E.P. program here, starting in July, to become an elementary school teacher. [I’ll] hopefully add in some travelling, whether for teaching or just to explore.