Coquitlam's Sydney Veljacic will be mixing business with field hockey prowess when she arrives at the University of Maine for the start of her full-ride athletic scholarship this fall.
The recent Gleneagle secondary graduate and Tri-City Eagles' alumna captained the Talons to a third place finish in the high school field hockey provincials. She has also just been named to U-21 Canadian women's national field hockey team that will compete at the 2013 Junior World Cup from July 27 to Aug. 4 in Monchengladbach, Germany.
Veljacic attended identification camps this spring, as part of the national team selection process in which 26 girls from across Canada are invited to train with the squad; she now joins a pared-down,18-player roster.
Playing a series against Argentina in May, and their recent first place finish at Field Hockey Canada's Senior National Championship served as a training ground for Veljacic and her teammates.
"All these events are stepping stones that are leading up to the Junior National Team's main goal, the Junior World Cup," Veljacic told the Tri-City News. "This will definitely be the biggest event that I have competed in, and I feel extremely honoured and excited to have the opportunity to represent Canada at the Junior World Cup."
When university beckons in September, Veljacic will make her way to Maine. Being able to play field hockey in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is why she chose the East Coast school - along with the university's international-accredited business program, Veljacic's area of study.
"UMaine had the right mix of competitive athletics and strong academics," she explains. "I also knew girls on the team from B.C., as well as two other incoming freshmen from B.C., which makes the transition from B.C. to Maine a little easier."