By Alana Thoman, U Sports Women’s Soccer Correspondent
Aman Shergill can play just about wherever you place her on the pitch.
The fourth-year UBC women’s soccer player has played the last three years as a defender with the Thunderbirds. But in her team’s opening round playoff game this season on Oct. 29 against the Alberta Pandas, a move up front opened new possibilities.
With UBC trailing 2-0 at half-time, Thunderbirds head coach Jesse Symons put Shergill in as a striker, where she couldn’t be stopped. The Surrey, B.C. native went on to score a hat-trick in the span of just under 15 minutes to lead her team to victory.
The offensive breakthrough has led to Shergill being named the U Sports Female Athlete of Month for October, after she recorded six goals and one assist in five games.
Shergill says the confidence Symons has in her, gave her the ability to step up for the team and play up front.
“I just knew that he believed in me that I could do it, so when I did, it was a huge shock to me and I was kind of like ‘Wow I can’t believe I just did that,’” said Shergill. “He has honestly supported me and believed in me like crazy and it is reassuring and makes me believe I can do it as well.”
Shergill, who comes from an athletic family, has loved the game since age five when she first got the feel for the ball between her feet.
Throughout her soccer career, she has played for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite, Surrey United SC and has represented Canada in the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup
Shergill says she couldn’t have gotten as far as she has today without her parents who are her biggest mentors.
“They supported me throughout every trip,” said Shergill. “They come and support me wherever I am no matter what, even if it is out of the country or out of the continent, they make time for me and it feels like they are always there cheering me on. For me, I want to go out and make my family and my teammates proud and I just want to play my hardest every single game - no excuse(s).”
Symons says Shergill merits the Athlete of the Month recognition, because she steps up for the team at forward when asked, even though defenders don’t always get the credit they deserve for their abilities.
He said the freedom they gave her to play a more attacking and advanced role this season, shows how versatile of a player she can be.
“Her talents were paramount with her ability to score goals, set goals up and on the flip side, her defending was still on the same level as it has been in the past few years,” said Symons. “She does not only have the ability to be an unbelievable defensive player but also an attacking (one).
“She really is the full player.”