After last season’s Canada West quarter field exit, Maya Gabruch has brought her game up to a higher level in her fourth year as a Huskie.
“We ended on a high note last year and have just built on that this year, which is exciting.” Gabruch said.
Composed and confident, Gabruch is a break-through star this season for the Huskies womens’ soccer team as a true difference-maker on and off the field.
Gabruch has scored six goals — two of which were gamewinners — and one assist and for a team-high 13 points. Last year, Gabruch tallied one goal and one assist for three points. Aside from her stellar performance on the field, Gabruch adds to the team on a much deeper level.
Gabruch takes the responsibility of being a leader and mentor seriously. The women’s soccer team adopted a mentorship program called Growth Buddies for younger players to have someone to lean on, ask questions and learn from other’s experiences.
Her participation in the program is part of what makes her embody what a great team leader should be.
The Saskatoon-native has been playing soccer for nearly her entire life, playing through the Hollandia program and Vancouver Whitecaps Football club’s Saskatchewan academy, though she admits playing at the university level requires “a lot to balance.”
She attributes her ability to manage a full schedule to the advice given from teammates of previous years. Now that she is in a mentor role herself, Gabruch makes herself readily available to give younger players that same support.
On the field, the Huskies forward credits her success to an improved mental game drawn from the experience she had playing for the professionalamateur Queen City United Club this summer. Playing across North America with the Regina-based team gave Gabruch an edge for this Huskie season.
“[Receiving] a new coaching perspective and getting to play with and against new players really helped my [development],” said Gabruch.
Queen City United plays in the United Women’s Soccer league, which is made up of high-performing university players and others who have climbed the ranks of professional women’s soccer. Gabruch found the opportunity to be motivating as she could “[look] across the field and see someone who has an Olympic bronze medal.”
Gabruch’s impressive on-field performance has rightfully earned her the Huskies’ female athlete of the week for two consecutive weeks this fall.
“It is an awesome feeling and helps me to keep striving,” said Gabruch.
She refuses to let the attention she has garnered get to her head, acknowledging that everyone has their successes and lulls on the field. Though not applicable this season, she says she has managed her lull periods by trusting the process by “going through the motions, sticking through it and leaning on [the] team”.
Gabruch’s drive for success is not limited to soccer. After completing her kinesiology degree next December, she has her sights set on pursuing a degree in medicine. It is evident that her commitment to her passions and level-headed disposition, Gabruch is primed for the challenge.
The U of S women’s soccer team is an incredible commitment. Aside from the almost daily practices, there is training, video analysis, study hall, team building and other extra responsibilities that come with being a student-athlete. Gabruch sees this as an important part of the process.
“It helps everyone grow as a person with life skills in general. Yes, you are getting better at soccer, but you are also becoming a better person with time management, how to work in teams, leadership [and] how to face adversity,” said Gabruch.
In 2016, the dogs made history with the program’s first-ever U Sports Championship tournament appearance. This year, Gabruch wants her Huskies to win the Canada West finals and repeat the type of success the team had in her first year.
An indisputable leader and mentor and a competitive, high-achieving player, Gabruch says she is “looking forward to just winning.”
She might just be the reason that they do.
Photo supplied by GetMyPhoto.ca | Huskie Athletics