Hailey Walsh (Gee-Gees) ready to realize her dream in Europe

Hailey Walsh is at the end of her university career. The 22 year old Ottawa Gee-Gees midfielder is looking to enter the professional world.

Hailey Walsh’s destiny began by chance: « I started out in gymnastics and would go to my brother’s soccer games. One day I told my parents I wanted to play. In my second season, my parents got a call from a coach who was building a team in the suburbs of Toronto. He had attended one of my games by accident because he was on the wrong field. That was the beginning of my competitive career, I was 8 years old. »

Born in Courtice, on the shores of Lake Ontario, the young player developed quietly before joining the team in Ajax, the town just south of her origins: « My parents always supported my brother and me in our passion for soccer. They drove us to all the training sessions and games, » she recalls. « I became a striker at that time and was leading the scoring in the youth elite. When I was 14, I joined the Whitby team, again outside of Toronto. »

Professionalism was not yet a reality. The trigger came in Spain, in San Sebastian to be precise, during the Donesti Cup, a competition that brings together clubs, sometimes prestigious, from several continents. She continues: « It was at that moment that I realized that professional soccer was really what I wanted. It was an important moment in my career as well because that’s when I started to evolve as an offensive midfielder playing on my defensive qualities and skills. »

A new turning point came at age 17 when Hailey Walsh joined the Darlington Fusion, one of Canada’s top youth teams: « It was a big challenge to be able to wear that jersey. The players were older than me and were all in college programs at top schools in the US. I was a starter in the midfield and we finished the season undefeated! »

A new level was reached at age 18: the Ontario League One, the semi-professional level. « I was playing against older players again and could compete against physically stronger opponents. I continued to train with my brother to improve my skills. Of course, American universities were interested in the young player who preferred to stay in Canada and join the University of Ottawa: « It was the best choice I could have made, » says Hailey. We finished as provincial and national champions in our first season. In 2019, I played sometimes on offense, sometimes on defense and we won the Bronze. » After another season in Ontario League One with Dareby FC, the versatile midfielder is looking to take the next step towards professionalism, « It’s been my dream since I stepped on the field the first time! »

Christophe AMBAR – Consultant – Justesoccer / Justbeinfoot

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