Harrison Shrimptons Story
The Whistler Youth Soccer Club (WYSC) would like to extend its congratulations to Harrison Shrimpton, who takes home the award for ‘Graduating Player of the Year’ as he wraps up his university career at UBC Okanagan this week.
“It was a huge honour,” said Shrimpton of the award, which was presented at the end of March.
It was, he added, recognition of all aspects of being a student athlete — leadership and discipline on the field, excelling at his sport, and doing well academically.
And to think: it all began with a little soccer club in Whistler.
Unlike the club today with its 500-strong membership, in the late 1990s the WYSC was a just small organization run by a group of dedicated volunteers. Shrimpton was about five years old when he joined. He loved soccer.
As a kid and then a teenager, there were countless hours spent driving up and down the highway for games and practices in Squamish and Vancouver and full weekends spent on the pitch. That dedication paid off.
In 2011, Shrimpton was a walk-on for the Heat in his first year at UBC Okanagan. It was a fateful moment that shaped the rest of his university career.
In the last five years, he has not missed a match for his university team, playing all 64 games.
“My one claim to fame,” joked the defender.
For the last three years he has been co-captain of the team.
Away from UBC Okanagan, Shrimpton has also been a part of Kelowna United, the local youth club, coaching ages 5 to 12, as well as coaching high school kids.
“I’m very happy with the competitive career that I had,” he said, talking about the camaraderie and the sense of being part of a team as well as the chance to excel as a leader on the field.
It’s time now, however, for a change and to focus on other things in life as he graduates with a degree in human kinetics.
“I think it’s time for new things,” he said as he waits to hear on a Masters placement for the fall.
But as the sun sets on his university soccer career, Shrimpton said he plans to always be connected to the sport whether through coaching or playing on a recreation league.
When asked what he would say to the five-year-old boys and girls starting to play for the WYSC just as he did 18 years ago, Harrison said: “If you really like the game and you’re happy to do it, there are opportunities to continue to play your entire life.”
Put in the hard work, he said. Learn to listen to criticism. Ask questions. Strive to be a better player.
After all, look where it got him.
Congratulations from the Whistler Youth Soccer Club and all the best on your next chapter Harrison.