Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema continues to make history on the soccer pitch.
The 16 year old scored five goals at the CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship, which was held Jan. 18-28 in Trinidad & Tobago.
That earned her the Golden Boot award as the tournament’s leading scorer, something no Canadian has ever achieved.
Huitema didn’t know about that little historical tidbit until a friendly neighborhood sports writer told her about it.
“Oh wow, that’s crazy.” she said. “(It’s) shocking because there have been so many legends who’ve come before me and you’d think one of them would have done this.
“But I guess not. That is crazy.”
Huitema did all of her damage in the group stage, lighting it up against Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago.
In Canada’s opener against Costa Rica, Huitema’s team found themselves down by one at the 28 minute mark.
Huitema scored the equalizer five minutes into the second half, catching up to a through-ball in the box and chipping it up and over the Costa Rica keeper.
After Gabrielle Carle scored the go-ahead goal for Canada, Huitema added insurance at the 66 minute mark.
A teammate fed a beautiful through-ball into the box.
The Costa Rica goalie charged out to get the ball as Huitema charged in after it. Huitema got there a split-second quicker, sliding to knock the ball past the keeper as the two collided on the ground.
Huitema looked like she was in pain as she got up, but she gutted out the rest of the game.
Huitema scored three more in Canada’s second game as her team rolled to a 4-1 win.
She was held off the score-sheet in a 4-0 group-stage win over Haiti, a 1-1 semi-final tie with Mexico and a 1-0 loss to Haiti in the bronze-medal match.
“I think it went pretty well, especially at the start when the team was doing very well,” Huitema said. “Topping the group stage was our goal that we set out to do.
“We wanted to make it through to the final and win the whole tournament, and obviously that didn’t play out as planned, but we couldn’t have asked for a better group stage.”
This is the latest in a series of overseas adventures for Huitema, who has traveled the world with Canadian soccer squads.
A look at her passport would reveal stamps from Australia, Spain, Sweden, China, Jordan, Grenada, Portugal and the Cayman Islands.
“I was in England too, but that was just for a layover so I don’t know if that counts,” she laughed.
Usually she brings back a magnet from each stop that goes on the fridge at home. She forgot to get one in Trinidad & Tobago, but she thinks her parents did and she’s not too worried.
Back home this week, she’s settling into her ‘normal’ life, going to school at Burnaby Central and working out in the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite Super REX Program.
She’s looking forward to rejoining the Canadian national team at some point soon to see what life is like under new head coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller.
John Herdman was the big boss for Huitema’s first seven games with the big team, but he jumped over to the Canadian national men’s team.
“I haven’t been a part of the team since that change,” Huitema said. “It was very upsetting to lose John because he was an amazing coach, but I do feel like Kenneth is ready to take over the team.
“I don’t think John would have left it in his hands if he didn’t think he could do it. They both have so much passion for the game. They know what we want and what it will take, so I’m very excited to get into future tournaments and see where we can go.”
Speaking of tournaments, Huitema is still young enough to play in the U-17 CONCACAF Womens’ Championship, which runs April 19-29 in Managua in Nicaragua.
She’s not sure she’ll be on the roster for that tournament, but if she’s eligible you’d have to think she’s a lock.
And, she could be back in Portugal later this month if she’s added to the national team roster for the 2018 Algarve Cup, which runs Feb. 28 to March 7.
Life’s a whirlwind for the talented teen who is doing her best to stay grounded.
“It’s been great, but I’m trying to not settle and get comfortable,” she said. “You can never get too comfortable with where you are and I know there is so much more for me in the future.”
Track Huitema’s adventures online at canadasoccer.com