deVos: Meteoric rise looks likely to continue for Yekka

Jason deVos
11/27/2013 4:27:07 PM
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Two months ago, if you had told 16-year-old Sura Yekka that she would be a member of Canada's women's national team, she wouldn't have believed such a thing was possible.

“I wouldn't have expected it. I would have been, like, ‘Oh, that's a good joke!'” said Yekka on Wednesday.

“It was crazy…I went to the Canada - U.S. game (in June) and I was a fan and then, within a couple of months, I'm now part of the team…it's just unreal,” she explained, trying to put into context how much her soccer career has changed in such a short period of time.

It would be completely understandable if Yekka was overwhelmed by it all. Players who she grew up idolizing, the likes of Christine Sinclair and Diana Matheson, are now her teammates.

But she isn't. In fact, she's taking it all in her stride.

“When I'm a little awestruck, it's more off the field. But when I'm on the field, I'm like ‘These are my teammates', like ‘I'm in the zone now'”, said Yekka.

Once she steps over the white line and the ball comes out, she's in her element.  

Yekka has all of the characteristics that you look for in a modern fullback: she is quick, agile, technically sound and has good natural instincts for when to jump into the attack. The area of her game that still needs work - which is understandable, given her age and relative inexperience - is her reading of the game and her positional awareness. Those can be taught and, the more time Yekka spends with the women's team and its coaching staff, the more she will improve in these areas.

Over the next six months, Yekka will be preparing for the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, being held in Canada. With venues in Edmonton, Moncton, Montreal and Toronto, Yekka is excited about the prospect of playing in front of family and friends.

“It's going to be a dream come true. The amount of people who are going to be there and knowing that your friends and family are going to be in the crowd and knowing that, no matter what, people are going to be there to support you…it's going to be absolutely crazy. It's going to be so exciting,” she enthused.

Aside from the thrill of playing in the U-20 World Cup, Yekka also sees the tournament as an opportunity to stake a claim to a place in the senior squad for the World Cup in 2015.

“I feel like I need to do the best that I can to gain as much World Cup experience because everyone on the senior team has World Cup experience, no matter what level they have…and I feel like I'm the only one that's lacking it so I feel like I need that. The fact that it's home makes me more determined to do well,” said Yekka.

That determination should see Yekka's star continue to shine. If she performs as well as she has shown in recent months, it will go a long way towards securing a spot on the senior team for the main event in 2015.

So you'd better get used to hearing Sura Yekka's name - I suspect you'll be hearing it a great deal for years to come.

Jason deVos

Jason deVos

As one of Canada's most accomplished soccer players, Jason deVos spent nearly 20 years on the pitch playing competitive soccer at the highest professionallevels in Canada and around the world. After retiring from international play, deVos began his broadcasting career as a soccer analyst with the CBC and GOLTV. Most recently he provided commentary and analysis for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa for the CBC.

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