KAYLEE DODDS joins VIU soccer

August 11th, 2013

Mariners hope new midfielder will give team what it needs: scoring; Kaylee Dodds, 19, joins up with the VIU women after a year with Kwantlen Eagles

Ben Ingam/ Nanaimo Daily News

The Vancouver Island University Mariners women's soccer team did not have to look far for that one vital asset missing from last year's offence - she came looking for them.

The Mariners were happy to welcome midfielder Kaylee Dodds, 19, to the team this year after the zippy attacker made the jump from the Kwantlen Eagles to VIU.

Encouraged by a friend on the men's team, fellow Surrey native AJ Kambere who plays defence for the Mariners, Dodds inquired about a transfer to the VIU physical education program. Once her former athletic director with Kwantlen was notifed of the move, the Mariners were free to approach Dodds about a spot on the team.

Head coach Anup Kang predicted that Dodds will play a 'huge' role for the team during her second year playing in the PacWest league.

"She's the type of player we were missing last year, a midfield that can really control and is very quick, very good on the ball," he said. "She's really good at going at players and putting defence on their heels."

Offence was a key shortcoming for the Mariners last year. The 2-5-5 team was eliminated from the playoffs after a season full of struggles on offence.

Those struggles were mirrored by a disciplined and highly effective defence, which is expected to be just as refined this year.

Kang hopes the addition of Dodds could be just what the Mariners need to make a push this year.

"It allows us to be more of an attacking team," he said. "Last year, we led the league in shutouts and were right at the top in goals against.

"We know we have a very good defensive team," he said. "So now we can actually put more numbers into the attack."

Kang hopes Dodd will be a confident athlete who can push opposing defenders back into their own zone.

From there, he hopes the fivefoot-four sophomore will create plays and have a scoring upside.

"We've got everybody coming back from last year, so we're quite happy," he said.

Dodd's former coach, the Eagles' Donn Sparks, described her as a fast-paced player that helped the team through a variety of situations.

Sparks praised her for "her attacking abilities, her strength going forward.

"She's got speed," he said. Dodds relocated to Nanaimo on Aug. 1 and has been practicing with the team in hopes of forming the chemistry necessary to score goals.

She said she expected to be with the Mariners for the long haul as she works on an education in physical education. "We'll go far this year, for sure," she said before a team practice at the Third Street fields on Thursday. "Everyone seems to be going really hard. .. There's a good group of girls, good players."

One aspect of her game that Dodds hopes to improve upon is her confidence with the ball.

"Taking people on myself; I need to be more confident by doing that," she said. "I tend to pass a lot, so maybe just going more forward.

"I'm hoping to be a goal scorer, score goals and make some plays up front," she said.

The Mariners hold a Saturday alumni game at Merle Logan field. The match begins at noon.