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Airdrie soccer player happy to represent Guyana on world stage

W.H. Croxford High School alumna Shanice Alfred has been suiting up for Guyana's national women's soccer team, while also competing for Ontario's Seneca College. 

For the last three-plus years, an Airdrie-raised soccer player has been getting her kicks at an international level.

Since 2020, W.H. Croxford High School alumna Shanice Alfred has been suiting up for Guyana's women's national team, while also competing for Ontario's Seneca College Sting.

The former Cavalier and Calgary Blizzard Soccer Club player said she was eligible to play internationally for either Guyana (where her father is from), St. Lucia (where she was born and where her mother is from), or Canada (where she was raised). While the Airdronian initially represented Canada at the U17 age group, Alfred said the Guyanese national team's interest in her led to her committing to play for the small South American nation instead. 

“The coaching staff I grew up with, they all thought I should be playing at the professional and international level, so they reached out to St. Lucia and Guyana, because they’re both part of my background,” Alfred said. “Team Guyana called me and said, ‘Hey, we have a tournament coming up. We’d love to see you play. We’ll fly you out to Toronto, take a look at you, and see where it goes.’ That was back in 2019.”

Alfred started out by playing for Guyana's U20 women's team. She represented the country at the CONCACAF Women's U20 Championships in February 2020, helping the team make it to the quarterfinals. She was later called up to the senior Guyanese women's team.

Guyana's women's team is currently ranked 87th in the world by FIFA – the global governing body for soccer. Despite being located in South America, Guyana is a member of the CONCACAF federation, which governs soccer in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. 

“We’ve got great girls, a great team, and a great coaching staff,” Alfred said. “We’re looking forward to our upcoming Olympic qualifiers, as well as the Gold Cup [CONCACAF's championship tournament] for women.

“It’s good. It comes with its challenges – we’re still a developing nation. There are still some funds that need to come in to help our youth sports and our women’s Guyanese team. But other than that, it’s a blast.”

Away from the international stage, Alfred is in her third year of playing for the women's soccer team at Seneca College, in the Greater Toronto Area. She moved to Seneca after originally starting her collegiate soccer career at MacEwan University in Edmonton in 2019. 

According to Alfred, she relocated to Ontario because the Guyanese national women's team is actually based out of Toronto, and holds some of its training camps there. Some of her Guyanese teammates also play for Seneca College, which is how she ended up playing for the Sting.

“It’s a great team, great squad,” she said. “We have a lot of fun and I love the culture.”

Though Alfred has two years of collegiate eligibility left (she is allowed an extra year due to the COVID-19 pandemic) she said she'll be graduating from her program at Seneca this April, which means if she intends to play for the Sting next year, she'd have to extend her schooling with an additional program.

Longer-term, Alfred hopes to play soccer professionally, mentioning the possibility of playing for a pro side in Australia, Europe, or somewhere warm. While Canada is set to launch a new women's professional league in 2025, she said she wants to wait and see how that league shapes up before deciding if she'd be interested in it.

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