Alliyah Rowe never expected to be in the position she’s in today with the Cape Breton Capers women’s soccer team.
The Kitchener, Ont., native currently leads Atlantic University Sport with nine goals, heading into the final two weekends of the league’s regular season.
“I think it’s been a great season for me so far and I think being able to lead the league in goals is a big accomplishment for me,” said the 18-year-old striker.
“I honestly never thought much about leading the league going into the season, I was more focused on gaining experience and being the best teammate I could be for my club.”
Rowe will look to add to her goal total this weekend when the Capers host the St. Francis Xavier X-Women and Memorial Sea-Hawks at the Cape Breton Health Recreation Complex on the Cape Breton University campus.
The Capers (7-1-0) will play the X-Women (6-0-3) Friday at 3 p.m., before facing the Sea-Hawks (4-2-2) on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Cape Breton and St. FX, who have both already clinched playoff spots, are currently tied in the AUS standings with 21 points. As for Memorial, the team sits in fifth place in the league.
- Hometown: Kitchener, Ont.
- Age: 18
- Position: Striker
- Team: Cape Breton Capers (Atlantic University Sport)
- Studies: Bachelor of Arts in Sport and Physical Activity Leadership
- Year: One
Despite her success on the field, Rowe doesn’t think much about her offensive production and the fact she has a target on her back every game.
“I try to focus on my performance and how I’m playing and how we perform as a team,” said Rowe. “The scoring will come if we’re doing well as a team — the club comes before personal goals.”
Capers head coach Stephen (Ness) Timmons isn’t overly surprised with Rowe’s season to date.
“She’s a dynamite forward and is very smooth on the ball and can hold the ball well while also finding other players,” said Timmons. “I knew she could score, but she’s also a playmaker too, so she’s showing us both sides.”
Rowe has scored in seven of the Capers’ eight games this season.
“She is scoring consistent,” said Timmons. “For her to be leading the scoring race as a rookie at this stage of the game going into our last two weekends of the regular season is quite impressive.”
Rowe began her career at seven years of age in her hometown of Kitchener, where she first played house league soccer before eventually cracking a rep team in the under-9 division.
“My mother asked me if I wanted to play soccer and I decided to give it a try and ended up really liking it,” said Rowe. “I loved the intensity of the sport and the movement with your feet and the fact it was a team game.
“I wasn’t the best when I first started, but I did a lot of training with my coaches and improved each year and eventually became a stronger player.”
During her minor soccer career, Rowe captured three Ontario Cup titles at various levels and attended numerous tournaments in the United States.
Last year, Rowe was approached by Timmons during a showcase tournament and was invited to visit CBU. After visiting Cape Breton last October, Rowe quickly fell in love with the school.
“The school was nice, the players on the team were extremely nice and I couldn’t help but like the school aspect,” said Rowe, who is currently enrolled in the bachelor of arts in sport and physical activity leadership (SPAL) program.
“After I came down and was interested in the team, I watched all of the club’s games and kept following them during nationals in Ottawa,” said Rowe.
In November 2018, Rowe officially committed to the Capers soccer program, a decision she doesn’t regret.
“Soccer-wise, it wasn’t a big adjustment for me because my summer league team always took things seriously and it was very similar here,” said Rowe. “I had to learn the system here, but other than that everything was pretty natural for me.”
Both Capers soccer teams will host the Atlantic University Sport championship later this month in Sydney. For now, Rowe isn’t looking too far ahead.
“We want to finish the regular season strong,” said Rowe. “We will focus on the AUS championship after that and hopefully we’ll do well and make it to nationals, but it’s one step at a time.”
The Capers men’s soccer team will also be in action today. Cape Breton (7-0-1) will host the St. Francis Xavier X-Men (7-1-1) at 5:15 p.m.
Cape Breton is currently tied with the X-Men with 22 points atop the league standings, ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively.
The Capers have won their last five games, while the X-Men have picked up victories in four of their last five contests. Both teams have already clinched playoff spots.
Cape Breton Capers (2nd) vs. St. Francis Xavier X-Women (3rd)
• Record: 7-1-0, 21 points
• Goals For: 28
• Goals Against: 3
• Streak: Two wins
• Record: 6-0-3, 21 points
• Goals For: 20
• Goals Against: 4
• Streak: Two wins
Cape Breton Capers (1st) vs. St. Francis Xavier X-Men (2nd)
• Record: 7-0-1, 22 points
• Goals For: 25
• Goals Against: 3
• Streak: Five wins
• Record: 7-1-1, 22 points
• Goals For: 27
• Goals Against: 9
• Streak: Four wins