Women’s U20 World Cup defender Rebecca Quinn still steals away at night to play on a local soccer pitch.
It’s early August, and the team is on a bus, travelling from Toronto to Montreal. They’re tired from their 3-2 comeback win over Finland on Aug. 8, but spirits are high as Quinn talks on the phone.
It’s also the eve of the Havergal alumna’s 19th birthday, and the squad will be in Montreal. Laughter is heard rising over Quinn’s voice.
“We have a tradition of getting pied in the face, so hopefully that won’t happen,” she says, with a chuckle.
Behind the playoff banter there is a competitive spirit on the team. Players come and go, challenging the current roster for spots.
It’s been a while since trials for Quinn, she admits, as she’s been in the national program since she was 14. But she says she understands her spot is always challenged, even if she’s training with Christine Sinclair on the senior team.
“Trials were a long time ago, but I guess you get pulled into a camp every single time, and you don’t know if you’ll get pulled into another,” Quinn says. “Every camp you get pulled into is kind of competition to keep your spot on the team, and we have players come in and out right up until the World Cup.”
She calls out her North Toronto Soccer Club coach Breagha Carr-Harris as being the biggest influence. Though Rebecca did not focus as much on soccer at Havergal, like her twin sister Jill did, her experiences with Carr-Harris in club play made up for it.
“My coach at the time always pushed me, Breagha Carr-Harris, and we’re still really good friends to this day, which is funny,” Quinn says. “But yeah, she was always putting us against boys teams, putting us up a year older, always pushing us to be better players, so I really think she helped me to strive to be a better player.”
The hard work earned her a full scholarship to Duke University in Durham, N.C., while Jill, a goalkeeper, went to Northeastern in Boston, Mass.
The U20 World Cup proved to be challenging as Quinn adapts to her role change from midfield to centre-back.
“We’ve had some challenging times along the way,” she says. “That 1-0 loss against Ghana was an example of that, but we’ve pulled through.”
Canada would do well in their group matches, finishing the round with a 1-0 win over North Korea. That earned them a spot in the quarter-finals against the eventual tournament winner, Germany.
Their goal was to win that match, but it was all for naught as the Germans won 2-0 in the Aug. 16 game.
“I think for us, just making it all the way to the end of the tournament, so that would mean winning a quarter-final match is our goal, and just to inspire the country to keep going to give a platform to the women’s World Cup in 2015.”