by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips
Bethany Herman is Keane on soccer.
Keane as in Robbie Keane, one of the best Irish soccer players ever to lace on a pair of cleats.
It was as a teenager that Herman, now a fourth year student/athlete with the Ambrose University Lions women's soccer team, had a chance to meet the star player.
"I was 16 or 17 at the time and we (Calgary club team) trained with a LA Galaxy for a week," recalls Herman, of the Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise of which Keane was Most Valuable Player and Top Scorer from 2012-2015.
"It was a great opportunity that few people get. It was cool to see the dedication that professional soccer players have and it was inspiring to see. I knew then that it (post-secondary soccer) was something that I could pursue."
The 5-foot-8 Herman, a graduate of Calgary's Foundations for the Future Charter Academy, had played basketball up until Grade 11 and track and field until Grade 10.
But soccer was her first choice at a young age.
"Without a doubt I enjoyed soccer the most," recalls Herman, 22, who is the oldest of four children.
"I love running and working out. Anything athletic activity and I am all over it."
Herman said she tried to install positive work ethic into her siblings: "We all grew up playing competitive sports. I always thought myself as a role model to them. So, if I could encourage them to play sports, I did. It was something that we could bond over."
Herman said, she herself had positive role models, not only with her parents, but with coaches Karen Froese and Henry Haeusler.
"They were my coaches from Under-10 to Under-18," said Herman. "They believed in me when I struggled with my confidence, when I was in junior high. They made me realize my strength as an athlete and they pushed me to develop the skills I may have lacked.
"I didn't want to let my team down. So, I was questioning if it was something that I wanted to still pursue seriously or just play for fun."
Herman said she enrolled at Ambrose due to, "It was a smaller school, so I thought I would get more one-on-one time with the teachers and it was a Christian community."
This is the first year (2018) for Ambrose Lions in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) men's and women's soccer as for Herman's first three years at Ambrose, the women's and men's athletic program offered futsal along with basketball and volleyball.
The adjustment has found the Lions women's soccer team sporting a respective record of two victories, four losses and one tie with eight goals for and 17 goals against.
Herman leads the team in scoring with four goals and an assist.
Of the transition, she comments: It's different. It definitely has been a challenge but one, together as a team, we are willing to take on. We might not be the biggest school or have the most talented players but we have the heart and attitude to compete.
"I love both futsal and soccer. I love the technical skills that futsal requires and the strategy of outdoor."
Herman added that, "I have been super blessed in that I have had no injuries."