NP-UN Western Bureau.
After being named one of the best goalkeepers in the Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference (ACAC), third-year University of Alberta student Sofia Ovcharenko was recognized as one of the best in the nation for the 2023/24 women’s soccer season. All-Canadian titles are given by the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) for excellence in collegiate athletics over the course of a season. Ovcharenko joins 14 other female varsity soccer players nationwide and is the only goalkeeper to be named this year—the first keeper so honoured since 2015.
Raising the bar, she is the first student-athlete at U of A’s Augustana Campus Vikings Soccer to win the award. At the conclusion of the ACAC’s regular season, Ovcharenko’s stats showed 147 saves in 11 games, the most in the conference. She made headlines around the league due to her “prowess as a goalkeeper,” being named ACAC Athlete of the Week on October 3rd following a double-header where she made 39 saves. From the ACAC website:
“Sofia Ovcharenko, an unwavering force, led her team to a 1–1 record over the weekend […]. In the first game, Ovcharenko’s remarkable performance included 21 saves, securing a 1–0 victory over the Rattlers. In the second game, she continued her stellar form with 18 saves and only one goal against in a narrow 1–0 loss.”
Ovcharenko’s name will go down in the Vikings Soccer history books for years to come. She set the record for most saves made in a season by a Vikings keeper, as well as the record for all-time career saves—247—by a male or female Viking soccer player.
Ovcharenko was honoured with the All-Canadian Athlete award at the 2023 CCAA Women’s Soccer National Championship in November, hosted by Holland College in Summerside, PEI. At this event she was approached by coaches of other women’s varsity soccer teams and is currently considering moving out of province to finish out her eligibility years as a student-athlete.
A member of Plast Edmonton since 2007, Sofia has attended scout leadership training and served as counsellor at winter and summer camps for junior and regular scouts. She is also on the organizing committee of UFest, Edmonton’s annual Ukrainian Festival. Sofia is a graduate of the Ukrainian Bilingual Program and the Ivan Franko School of Ukrainian Studies in Edmonton.
“I am grateful for the positive influence of these organizations, also the St. Albert Impact Soccer Association, in my life so far. It’s a great honour to have received this recognition, and I am very excited to see where my future soccer endeavours will take me.”
With files from UAlberta Augustana Vikings Women’s Soccer (https://govikings.ca/sports/wsoc) and ACAC (https://www.acac.ab.ca/aotw/2023-24/20231003so)