Photo by Brad Curnow
It was a cold Saturday morning in September, but for freshman Hannah Bruce, a Nova Scotia, Canada native, the weather finally felt like home as the Utah Valley University women’s soccer team practiced for its upcoming match against Grand Canyon.
“It would be snowing out and we would still be playing on the turf. It’s colder and lots of rain, compared to Utah,” said Bruce.
With such rough playing conditions, Bruce used this to her advantage and brought a different playing style to the field.
Head coach Brent Anderson likes what he sees from the freshman, and believes that she adds a fire that the players can use against opponents.
“The thing that stood out to us is her competitive nature, I think every girl at this level is competitive, but she puts people on the ground repeatedly to win the ball,” said Anderson. “She gets knocked down and she’s up in a flash, right back on you battling to get the ball back.”
Growing up in Nova Scotia, Bruce was raised in a house full of athletes. Her dad played soccer for team Nova Scotia and her mom was a basketball player. Bruce tried to stay busy with sports during her youth by playing soccer alongside her older sister since age 5.
“First I played soccer just for fun, but then I got recognized to try out for the regional training center,” said Bruce. “From there on I got in to the parental program at 13 years old.”
Bruce was cut in the U-14 year, however; she was able to come back and play for the U-15 year. After that, she made the Atlantic All-Star team, and a pair of Nationals appearances. Bruce led Team Nova Scotia to four straight titles at the Atlantic Championships.
After gaining exposure on the East Coast, Bruce was drawn to Utah because of family as she has a sister who attends BYU and several relatives who live in the state. Bruce felt right at home in Utah. Bruce went to different schools, took different campus tours and met with several coaches, but something about UVU just felt right for the freshman.
“There is something about here (UVU) specifically that was just instant,” said Bruce. “This is where I want to play, great coaching staff, great program and the girls are so nice.”
Bruce liked UVU so much, that she promoted herself by sending her highlight film. Although, she didn’t hear back. When Bruce came out to visit for vacation August of 2014, she reached out to the coaching staff.
The staff liked what they saw on tape, but they wanted to see her in action. She played as a guest player for a Utah club team as part of a showcase in November, then was extended an offer to attend UVU Jan. 1, 2015.
Bruce is excited to play her college career at UVU, and can see herself playing soccer after college is over. Her future is very bright, and with the aggressive style that brings her recognition among her teammates and coaches, she is sure to catch the attention of the teams left on the schedule.
I’m a 33 year-old California native, I decided to combine my passion for sports with my love of writing and hopefully one day make a career out of it. I’m also a huge Orlando Magic, Indianapolis Colts and New York Yankees fan! I’m also a huge nerd, I just love to geek out over superhero movies, games and shows.