Riverviews twins join Wesmen roster
Two Riverview teens have committed to playing with the University of Winnipeg Wesmen women’s soccer recruiting class of 2022.
June and Maddie Ibbitt-Gatti, twin sisters from Vincent Massey Collegiate, have played everywhere else together, so it only makes sense they continue that tradition in university.
The now 18-year-olds first started playing soccer as Timbits at four years old before moving on to conquer the South End United system. They gained an invite to the Manitoba Regional Excel Centre (REX) in 2017 before the COVID-19 pandemic derailed their sports plans.
The twins were offered spots on the Wesmen after attending an ID camp in May.
“We’ve always been interested in playing soccer at a higher level,” June said. “I never thought I was going to play, but then I saw there were tryouts and we ended up making it. We never put our names out there, it just kind of happened.”
Before committing to the Wesmen, June and Maddie helped their high school team, the Vincent Massey Trojans, dominate indoor, outdoor and provincials. The Trojans never surrendered a goal, and eventually earned top spot at the girls’ AAAA high school championship game in June.
“I like the game and the teammates,” Maddie said. “I like how it’s a team sport because I don’t like individual sports. I like the aggressiveness on the field, and working together. It’s a very active sport and you have to be athletic to succeed.”
June and Maddie have already joined their team in training and will be eligible in time for the start of the 2022 season.
Despite living, studying and playing soccer together, the twins don’t often get into too many disagreements.
“We’re always pushing each other. We’ll tell each other the truth,” June said. “We help each other work on things, or if we see something the other person needs to do we’ll tell them.”
Wesmen head coach Amy Anderson has been coaching with the University of Winnipeg for about nine years. This year’s season kicks off on Aug. 24, and the team’s first game will be the Friday of that week in Saskatoon, Sask.
“We were lucky to get a lot of quality kids this year that are very athletic and coachable,” Anderson said. “We’re going to have a great future with them.”
June and Maddie are “strong and composed,” Anderson added. They have soccer-sense, but they’ll need to work on their agility and adapting to playing the sport at university level.
While the age group hasn’t had much field time due to the COVID-19 pandemic and frequent shutdowns of in-person sporting events, Anderson tries to look at their lack of game experience as a positive.
“They’re excited to play and I haven’t had any issues with them wanting to be here. They’re very enthusiastic and it’s a great group,” she said. “We’re playing one of the toughest divisions in the country, so we have to work hard and as a team. The twins have that mentality, and I’ve been very impressed with their composure. I threw them in right away in our club game and they handled themselves really well.”
The Ibbitt-Gattis join a recruiting class that also includes Brianna Machado, Peyton Friesen, Madison Priebe, Grace Klassen, Silvana Scaramuzzi and Jaida Clancy.
Kelsey James is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. She graduated from Red River College’s creative communications program in 2018 as a journalism major and holds a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric, writing and communications from the University of Winnipeg. A lifelong Winnipegger who grew up in southwest Winnipeg, Kelsey is thrilled to be covering the neighbourhoods she still calls “home.”