Player Profile: Mariel Solsberg

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Ever wonder what it would be like playing against playing amongst your nation’s best players, travelling to Europe to lace up your boots, and helping launch a new WPSL team in a World Cup year? Allow us to introduce you to Mariel Solsberg of Vancouver Island FC – they were nice enough to put us in touch with Mariel and she was happy to share her experiences and answer our questions. The Canadian’s take on Chip’s Ahoy, classic or otherwise, might surprise as well—read on!

What's your origin story? Where does your path with soccer begin? What players or clubs do you support?

I started soccer at a "late stage", meaning I was a gymnast first but longed for more of a team dynamic and didn't overly love competitions where you're being "judged". I had always participated in soccer camps during the summer months but never officially played on a team until grade 7. I saw some of my friends playing across the street, asked my mum if I could go join. We wandered over and the coach explained it was their last game of the season but that I could join the following year. The sport has stuck ever since.

I was a huge fan of Carl Valentine as a kid. I attended a camp that he was a guest at and loved his accent and his intensity. He was also number 13 which is, in my opinion, the best number ever (coming from someone born on the 13th). I used to wake up early on weekends and watch Soccer Saturdays by myself but never really had one team. I'd just watch whatever was on. As I got older, I liked to follow players as opposed to clubs. I used to love Gareth Bale but more so when he played for Tottenham. I was always a fan of Messi because he's short like me and he's just an unbelievable player, no denying it. I grew up playing against Christine Sinclair and used to despise her but mainly 'cause she injured my ankle in a high school game. That said, she's literally the nicest person and an amazing player and role model for girls to look up to.

Are you from the island, or do you commute to play soccer for Vancouver Island FC? They're fairly new, where did you play before you laced up for them?

I grew up in Vancouver but have since moved to Victoria so it was amazing to have a local team to play for this summer. My hometown club was West Vancouver FC. I then played for UVIC for five years and actually ended up wanting to pursue soccer further. I moved to Denmark and played for two teams professionally (Fortuna Hjorring and Sonderjyske). I then moved back to Victoria and played for a number of different women's teams: Gorge FC, Castaways FC, The Victoria Stars, Victoria Highlanders, and Lakehill FC.

Canadian WPSL Rivals, TSS Rovers, can’t stop Mariel Solsberg, they can only hope to contain her.

Canadian WPSL Rivals, TSS Rovers, can’t stop Mariel Solsberg, they can only hope to contain her.

How inspiring has the World Cup been; are you motivated to play while the competition is full speed ahead or do you think leagues should take an international break?

I love all things World Cup related (men's and women's). I find it very motivating to be able to watch the top level of soccer and then have the opportunity to train and play myself. I don't think a break is necessary and thankfully our games and sessions haven't overly conflicted with the competition.

In the men's game, they have Open Cups and other additional silverware to play for - does this type of extra competition exist for women? If not, would you like to have more to play for?

Our division has two Canadian teams in it and we've had some sponsors come forward offering to support a plate for our two teams to compete for each year. I think having an additional competition within our league is awesome. I know the girls I play with love all things competitive. Our WPSL season consists of only 8 games and while the short season does suit many people, a couple extra things here and there can be awesome.

Playing footy should be fun—the women of Vancouver Island FC have a laugh during a team photo shoot.

Playing footy should be fun—the women of Vancouver Island FC have a laugh during a team photo shoot.

What's your non-soccer profession? Would you postpone that for a chance at the NWSL or a European League?

I am a high school teacher and soccer coach by trade. While I have played professionally in Scandinavia, I would happily take the opportunity to go back if provided with one. It was an awesome experience that I, myself, cut short and would love to go play again (even though I'm basically a grandma now).

Lastly, and very important - it’s quite controversial, but we want to know if you prefer chewy chips ahoy or classic? If not Chips Ahoy, what's you're go-to snack? (we ask this of nearly all of our interviews)

I'm not really a Chips Ahoy type of a gal. Ice cream is my weakness and anything that includes the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. That said, if I was to choose, I'd have to go for the chewy variety.

Mariel, and Vancouver Island FC, finished 2nd in their inaugural year as members of WPSL. (All Photos by Kelly Wallace, via Mariel Solsberg)

Mariel, and Vancouver Island FC, finished 2nd in their inaugural year as members of WPSL. (All Photos by Kelly Wallace, via Mariel Solsberg)