And she’s traveling across the continent to get it.
The 18-year-old Sammamish, WA., resident recently committed to Dalhousie Agricultural Campus, where she will pursue an Environmental Engineering degree and patrol the pitch for the Rams women’s soccer team.
“I was thrilled to get the email from coach Jackie (Ryan) letting me know I was being invited to play for the Rams,” Woodward, a holding midfielder, said. “I’m excited to meet her and my teammates and build some new friendships. I hope I will be a contributing member and help the team win games.”
Woodward started researching schools two years ago as a Grade 10 student in the fields of environmental engineering and marine biology. Dalhousie Agricultural Campus immediately popped up, along with the likes of McGill, the University of Waterloo, the University of Alberta, Oregon State and Washington State. She toured them all, but there was something about the small Bible Hill campus that drew Woodward in, despite its distance from home.
Coming from a small high school, Woodward liked the small class sizes and the chance to work closely with professors at Dalhousie AC. She was also impressed with the friendly, community spirit on campus and the chance to play a sport she loves while studying.
Ryan welcomed the player with open arms. Woodward has a reputation for being able to turn her team from defensive mode into attack. She is strong on the ball and comfortable with it at her feet, offering reliable protection for the Rams back end. She provides a threat from free kick situations and also comes with a tireless work ethic and an endlessly positive attitude.
The Rams have improved steadily since Ryan took over the program in 2012, climbing from the basement of the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association to missing a berth in the conference playoffs by just one point last year after posting a 5-7 record.
“I think Claudia is going to be a great addition,” Ryan said.
Woodward also has an impressive soccer resume. She played last season for Crossfire 98 Select after spending the previous five seasons in the BYSC (Bellevue Youth Soccer Club) Select program. She is an all-year player, also honing her skills in indoor soccer in the off-season.
Even while at home – Sammamish is a city of about 60,000 located 25 minutes east of Seattle, Woodward faced stiff competition in the backyard from three younger brothers.
She and her siblings were introduced to the game by their father, who grew up in England and played at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.