2014 has been a busy year for Rebecca Quinn. The defender made her senior debut against Italy at the Cyprus Cup in March. In May, she was a starter versus the Americans in Winnipeg and just last month, she faced Germany in Vancouver. That means she’s already battled against some of the game’s best players, including Abby Wambach and Anja Mittag.
Soon, Rebecca will take that invaluable experience to guide her throughout the U-20 Women’s World Cup. The entire country will be watching when she and the squad hit the pitch in Toronto for their opening match in August.
A major international tournament is nothing out of the ordinary for the 18-year-old, as she was a key member of the Canadian team at the 2012 U-17 Women’s World Cup. She also won silver at the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s U-17 Championship.
At the college level, she’s the lone Canadian suiting up for Duke in North Carolina. She’ll embark on her sophomore season this fall.
The Road to Canada 2014 interview series continues with defender Rebecca Quinn:
Tell us about camp and how things have been going for you and the girls.
It’s been great to finally have everyone together. This is looking close to what the team is going to be at the World Cup coming up. We’re getting all of our pieces together and I’d say, it’s really coming along nicely. The camp’s been really good for us.
The tournament is inching closer every day. How has head coach Andrew Olivieri been preparing for the opening match?
You work with a bunch of different coaches throughout your life and I just really enjoy his coaching style. He’s so encouraging. He provides so much feedback. I’d say he’s probably one of the hardest working coaches I’ve ever been with. He’s non-stop, all the time, trying to think of ways to make us better. He always keeps us very well prepared for all the different situations coming up. Nothing but good words for him.
For you personally, 2014 has been unique because you made your senior debut at Cyprus. How has that experience geared you up for the U-20 Women’s World Cup?
To have that experience out there with Kadeisha [Buchanan] and Ashley [Lawrence] is great. Having that partnership with Kadeisha in the back has been really good and we’ve been able to test it out on a really big stage with the women’s team. I like how we’ve been able to bring what we’ve learned from the women’s program back to the U-20s to help make our team as good as possible. It’s been such a great opportunity for me.
You mention that big stage and nothing is bigger than May’s match in Winnipeg. You had the chance to play the US, Canada’s number one rival. You found yourself on the back line as a starter. What was it like suiting up against some of the world’s best?
Honestly, it was pretty surreal. During the first few minutes, I still couldn’t get it through my head that Abby Wambach was coming toward me. Luckily, you fit in. It’s nothing different than the players you’re training with. We train with Christine Sinclair, the best striker in the world. She’s prepared us pretty well for what we had to face in that game. It was a really good experience.
Watching that particular game, the back line didn’t look phased. Is there somebody on the senior team that’s been a mentor or someone that’s been giving you advice leading up to those key situations?
They’ve all stepped in and been really supportive. It’s been such an easy transition into the team. I think especially Rhian [Wilkinson] because she works with the U-20s. She’s been on the coaching staff and it’s been a good bridge for us. She keeps good information coming into the U-20 camp. I do think everyone pitches in. Desiree Scott was my first roommate and she did a really good job. They are a great group of girls.
Is there a centre back out there, past or present, whom you’d like to model your style after?
I actually think we’re really trying to form our own new style of play. So it’s about being really confident and comfortable on the ball. It’s also key to have centre backs who are attacking options and being a line of attack for our team is different from what Canada’s had in the past.
Have you thought about what it’s going to be like hearing your name announced in Toronto, your hometown, in just a few weeks?
I’ve thought about it a bit, but once we get closer to the date, it’ll be pretty crazy. I’m nothing but excited for the World Cup coming ahead. It’ll be great being at home and hopefully having a few people that I know coming out to watch the game. That’ll be a pretty different experience.
Your family and friends probably can’t wait.
They are really excited about it, especially that they get to share the opportunity with people they know. We’ll have some family friends there. I know my mom is talking to her friends about buying tickets and whatnot. It’s going to be so great to share that love of soccer with people who may not normally experience it. I know it’s a pretty small community when we’re out in other countries. It’ll be incredible.
Your group of girls is the next generation of soccer players in Canada. What is your goal going forward for the sport and for women in soccer?
We want to inspire a generation. Just think of what the senior team did at the Olympics and how they got the whole country behind them. For a women’s team, it’s not something you typically see other than maybe in hockey. They created a great foundation for us. It’s up to us to continue growing the sport throughout the country. We want to inspire a new group of young girls, who will then fill our places.
Thanks to Rebecca for sharing her time during camp in Vancouver. You can follow her on Twitter.
About the author:
Sandra Prusina is a journalist and broadcaster based out of Calgary, Canada. She has covered women’s soccer since 2010. She’s also a segment reporter for Olympic Broadcast Services, traveling to Vancouver, London and Sochi to work for the host broadcaster.