JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - What an honor it must be to represent your country on a national stage. For Jacksonville University women's soccer's Sope Akindoju the opportunity is knocking on the door. Recently, the freshman forward from Halifax, Nova Scotia was invited to attend the Canadian Women's National EXCEL program for a weeklong training camp.
The camp, which began on Dec. 14 and will stretch through Dec. 20, focuses on developing and identifying talent that will possibly suit up for the Canadian National Team in the 2016 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Standing alongside 20 other players, one of five forwards invited, Akindoju will train amongst the best to compete for a roster spot.
"We are extremely excited for Sope to be called into this camp," said Head Coach Brian Copham. "This is a testament to the continual work and training she had put it in prior to coming to Jacksonville and the continued improvement she showed this fall. Sope had an excellent freshman season for us and I am pleased that she is getting this opportunity to showcase her skills at this national camp. This camp is a preparatory camp for the U20 squad that will play in the 2016 U20 World Cup, and is also an identification process for future national team players. We wish Sope the best of luck as she trains and plays with some of Canada's best."
In her season debut with the Dolphins, Akindoju earned Atlantic Sun Second Team All-Conference and Freshman Team All-Conference honors. She appeared and started in all 19 of JU's matches, leading the team in goals (5), assists (3) and points (13) and finished the campaign as the second best freshman scorer in the conference. She recorded three game-winning goals on the year and her best performance yet occurred in the 3-0 shutout over North Florida where she netted two goals.
CANADA U18-20 National EXCEL Camp Participants
GK- Devon Kerr | CAN / Women's Regional EXCEL Centre Ontario
GK- Priya Sandhu | CAN / Simon Fraser University
GK- Patricia Koutoulas | CAN / Women's Regional EXCEL Centre Ontario
D- Jordane Carvery | USA / Louisiana State University
D- Simmrin Dhaliwal | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite (Women's Regional EXCEL Centre BC)
D- Jordan Lundin | USA / Radford University
D- Easther Mayi-Kith | CAN / Québec Centre
D- Victoria Pickett | CAN / Women's Regional EXCEL Centre Ontario
D- Marike Saint-Pierre Mousset | CAN / Québec Centre
D- Bianca St-Georges | CAN / Québec Centre
M- Hannah Chua | USA / Western Kentucky University
M- Vanessa Grégoire | USA / Princeton University
M- Sarah Kinzner | CAN / Alberta Centre
M- Carla Portillo | USA / West Virginia University
M- Taylor Price | USA / Pittsburgh University
F- Sope Akindoju | USA / Jacksonville University
F- Gabrielle Carle | CAN / Québec Centre
F- Chelsea Harkins | USA / Washington State University
F- Alexandra Lamontagne | USA / Syracuse University
F- Marie-Mychèle Métivier | CAN / Québec Centre