Local soccer player Rita Fetsch, a standout striker for Sacred Heart’s provincial champion girls’ soccer team, has recently won the prestigious Saskatchewan Player of the Year award, beating Humboldt native Joel Zimroz, who trains with the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer, for the honour.
But Fetsch, who has been playing soccer in Yorkton since she was five years old, wasn’t aware that she won the award until she found out during a conversation she had with the head coach of the University of Regina women’s soccer team, Bob Maltman. “He said ‘Congratulations on winning the Player of the Year award’ and I thought that he was talking about the one that I won for Yorkton at the Yorkton banquet,” said Fetsch, who attended the Yorkton banquet instead of the Provincial one as they were held on the same night. “Then he said that he was there and I knew he wasn’t there (in Yorkton) so I asked him what he was talking about and he told me that I won the one for Saskatchewan as well. That’s how I found out about it.”
And although Fetsch knew she was nominated for the award, she feels that actually winning it came as a surprise. “I definitely wasn’t expecting it,” mentioned the Sacred Heart grade 12 student-athlete. “I knew I was nominated but I can’t say that I was expecting to win it. It was a nice surprise.”
The ‘nice surprise’ is just one more accomplishment that Fetsch can add to what has become a very extensive and impressive résumé.
In addition to the two most recent Player of the Year awards, Fetsch has also won a gold medal in both the Regina and Saskatoon Division Two Indoor tournaments, a gold medal in the Saskatoon Premier Division tournament, a Provincial Outdoor Division Two title and a high school Provincial championship; all those accomplishments coming over the past year.
That impressive collection of recent achievements has caught the eye of not one, but two Canadian universities who are now battling for the services of the talented offensive dynamo. “Both the U of R and the U of S have contacted me and invited me for training camps,” said Fetsch, continuing, “I just went on Tuesday to the U of R to do a meet and greet and train with the girls and sort out some academic stuff as well.
“I also just got an email from the U of S saying that they were also interested in me so I’m just trying to make decisions on that.”
While choosing between the two universities that both want to benefit from her athletic abilities will no doubt be difficult, it’s a problem that most people would love to have.
However Fetsch believes that, while she worked hard to get to where she is now, she can’t take all the credit. Instead, the humble girl with the big heart praised coaches and teammates alike with helping her throughout the years. “My mom (and high school coach) is definitely an inspiration. She’s taught me most of what I know about soccer,” offered Fetsch. “I also have to credit the girls that I play with. You don’t put the ball in the net all by yourself and you don’t work the ball down the field alone. You win as a team and you lose as a team so I have to give a lot of credit to them.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to play with a lot of highly skilled girls in Yorkton such as Kendra Varjassy, Kristen Jonassen, Lauren Maier and Allison Berge just to name a few, so when you have those kind of people on your team it’s a lot easier to do well.”