He may only be a freshman, but Maple Ridge’s Alex Rowley is proving he is wise beyond his years on the soccer pitch this season for the Simon Fraser University men’s team.
Rowley has already recorded two goals and two assists in eight games with the NCAA Division 2 Clan this season at centre midfield. Last weekend, Rowley scored to help the Clan to a 3-2 overtime victory over the University of Mary Marauders, on the road in North Dakota.
With Rowley in the lineup this season, the Clan has a 7-1 record.
Clan head coach Alan Koch says Rowley has a maturity on the field far beyond his 19 years.
“We had high expectations for Alex when we signed him, and he’s met them,” said Koch. “He’s got a great work ethic and he’s open and willing to learn.
“If he applies himself, he could go very far. He has a lot of the right tools.”
Rowley first began playing soccer with the Golden Ears United Soccer Club, before joining the Alouette Selects at U-14, and moving on to Metro Ford in Coquitlam for U-15. There he won a provincial championship at the U-16 level, before joining the Vancouver Whitecaps U-18 Residency Program in 2010.
A former student at Samuel Robertson Technical Secondary School in Maple Ridge, Rowley switched to Burnaby Central to take part in the elite soccer development program, which he credits with preparing him for the step up to NCAA soccer.
Rowley has travelled extensively with the Whitecaps, as well as provincial touring teams, and has played throughout Europe and North America.
“It was a great experience for me,” he said of his days with the Whitecaps youth program, which holds some of its practice sessions at SFU. “I was already familiar with the school, and I got to know a lot of the guys who are on the team now.”
Koch agrees the Whitecaps program was the perfect stepping stone for Rowley.
“His experience with the Whitecaps gave him a very good base, and that’s helped with his transition” said Koch.
When Rowley isn’t on the pitch, he’s studying criminology and sociology, and hopes to complete his degree and pursue a career as a firefighter after his soccer career is over.
Assuming Chelsea in the English Premier League don’t call him up, Rowley said he would love to play for his hometown Whitecaps after university.
“I’ve spent so much time with that organization, so they are definitely near the top of my list,” he said. “And of course, I’d love to represent Canada too, someday.”