When Canadian women’s under-20 soccer coach Andrew Olivieri watches Jessie Fleming, he sees a midfielder with a love for the game and the ball.
The 16-year-old from London, Ont., and her teammates qualified for a quarter-final game on Saturday night in Edmonton with a 1-0 win over North Korea on Tuesday evening.
One of the youngest players in the Canadian system, Fleming has already competed at a U-17 Women’s World Cup and could also gain experience at the 2015 Women’s World Cup and 2016 Rio Summer Games by the time she turns 20.
Providing Fleming and others with the balance they need on the pitch to develop, at home disconnecting from the pressures of the sport and to grow as a person has been important.
“The coaches do a good job with how much time we spend studying and focus on soccer,” says Fleming. “It can be tough but at the end of the day it’s worth it.”
Click above for the full interview.