As Airdronian Shanice Alfred watched the last Women's soccer World Cup tournament, a sense of melancholy had settled over her.

"I had just been cut from the U-17 Canada team and I was sitting there and I was a little bit upset. I thought I could be playing with these girls. I could be on this team," she said. "That sparked something within me."

The W.H. Croxford High School alumnus who is now studying at Seneca College in Toronto decided that she had to call one of her former coaches. Alfred, whose family hails from both St. Lucia and Guyana was adamant that she belonged on the international soccer stage. Her coach, whom she called as well seemed to agree. Within an hour of her discussion, another phone call came.

"One of the Guyanese national team scouts phoned me up. He said that my coach told them all about me and that they had a camp coming up. He told me that they'd like to see what I am all about," Alfred said. "It all came pretty quick. He [my coach] worked his magic. I don't know what he said to him, but I owe him everything. So, ever since then, I joined the U-20 Guyanese team and I have stayed ever since."

Since she had aged out of the U-20 team, Alfred is now a part National Women's team.

Former W.H. Croxford soccer player Shanise Alfred is representing Guyana on the international soccer stage. (Photo provided by Warren Toker) Former W.H. Croxford soccer player Shanise Alfred is representing Guyana on the international soccer stage. (Photo provided by Warren Toker) 

While Alfred played soccer for her local high school, her introduction to the sport came by sheer coincidence when her stepfather happened to trade items that he had won in a silent auction with a friend of his.

"He ended up winning the toolset and his friend won the sports bag, so, my dad traded with him. Then he took me out to the field he emptied the bag and said here's all the sports equipment," she said. "he told me to pick one and we'd go through all of them and see which one I liked. When we got to the soccer ball; I never put it down."

Although she is part of the Guyanese team, Alfred said that many of the team's practices are held in Canada. 

With one year left before she graduates with her degree in therapeutic recreation, Alfred is readying to take her soccer career into the professional sphere one day. She also reflected on the fact that since she started in the sport, things have changed.

"When I started, women's soccer wasn't really fully developed. Now, I feel like the women's game has really taken off and even soccer in general and Canada." 

Today, Alfred, a winger and center forward on the soccer field says she emulates her soccer idol, dutch player Vivianne Miedema.

"I try to replicate her playing styles in the games that I play. I think she's a really dangerous attacker, whenever she's on the ball. She's just so good in her movement, the placement of the ball, her plays and her vision on the field."

Alfred said she and the team are gearing up for friendly tournaments come this summer. Like many soccer players, she fervently believes in the game is more than a sport.

"[Soccer] is freeing to me. This game is so beautiful in my eyes. You have more room to just create your art; that's why I love soccer."

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