The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack women's soccer team has always had players on its roster from outside the Kamloops area.
The 2012 PACWEST season will be no different.
The defending league champions have gone to a familiar place to secure their latest recruit. Head coach Tom McManus recently announced that Courtney Burnett from Walnut Grove will be attending the 'Pack training camp this August with an eye on earning a spot on the roster.
She is the sixth high school recruit to commit to the Thompson Rivers program for the coming semester.
"I have heard nothing but good things about the program and the university," said Burnett, who played for the Langley FC U18 squad this spring. "I have family up here so I decided to check it out. It seems like a great fit."
Burnett was investigating the University of B.C. (UNBC) and Vancouver Island University as places to go to school and play soccer before deciding on Thompson Rivers. She will be enrolled in courses designed to get a Bachelor of Science degree.
Burnett will be a graduate this June of Walnut Grove Secondary. WGSS is the same school that current WolfPack players Abbey and Chloe McAuley attended.
"We kind of lived in the same neighbourhood and have some mutual friends," Burnett said. "I'm hoping we can be teammates this year."
The McAuley sisters are both going into their fifth year of eligibility with the WolfPack in 2012.
As for Burnett, the 5'2" player had this self assessment: "I am a real team player. I am a good motivator and a good passer."
Burnett's U18 squad played silver-level soccer in 2011/12. The team had eight wins, three draws and four losses in league play in finishing third. Its overall tournament record was 13-5-6.
Andrew Burgess was Burnett's coach last year and in the U14 age group, and has known her for the past six years.
"Her speed is a big part of her game and her touches on the ball have improved a lot over the past few years," Burgess said. "As a team player she always puts the team first, and what I mean about this is, wherever I needed her to play on the field, she did, and never questioned my decisions."
Burgess added that Burnett is a very hard worker, both in practices and games, which is welcomd news to McManus.
The WolfPack head coach looks for hard work as he scouts for a "prototypical WolfPack player."
"She- fits into the mold really nicely," McManus said. "She has a great work ethic. That is what I like in players. I've seen her play and she has some good pace. I see her more as a wide player as coming through as a forward. But you never know. Training camp comes up and she may spark and do some fantastic things in front of the goal and that could be it."
Looking at Burnett's development over the last six years, her rep coach, Burgess, had this assessment: "A lot of Courtney's success is due to playing for such a strong club in Langley FC, as their academy program is second to none."
Burgess said Langley FC's academy coaches do "a great job" on improving its players' skills.
"The strengths of this academy is showing these players how to play a position game and the rewards and success would come."
Burnett believes TRU made a good decision with selecting Burnett as a recruit.
"She deserves it as she's worked hard on her soccer skills the past few years," he said.
"I am very excited for her and wish her the best in her future."
Burnett becomes the sixth recruit committing to Thompson Rivers for the 2012 season, joining Olivia Rasmussen, Kindra Maricle, Kelsey Martin, Courtney Daly, and Madison Ellis, all from Kamloops.
The WolfPack opens its 2012 PACWEST training camp on Aug. 13 .
Thompson Rivers is the defending league champion and has its first regular season match Saturday, Sept. 8, against Douglas College at Hillside Stadium.
THROW INS: McManus said he is pleased to add another player from the Walnut Grove area.
"Coach Scott Clark [WolfPack men's basketball coach] lived just down the street from Courtney at one point," McManus laughed.
The WolfPack have also recruited men's basketball player Kenny Monture for this coming season and Clark's stepson, Brett Parker, a second-year guard, along with men's soccer player Scott Lively call Walnut Grove their alma mater.