By Thomas Becker
The UPEI Panthers backfield will look vastly different now that Danielle Younker and Jennifer Balderston have completed their fifth year of eligibility. Not only are they losing all-star-calibre talent, but they're also losing two leaders.
That has opened the door for a rookie defender like Roselyn Kushko to come in and take one of those vacant spots and cement herself as a cornerstone for this team.
"Roselyn is a great athlete and a strong competitor who'll compete for a position in the backline" said head coach Lewis Page. "She's good in the air and strong in tackling and Panther fans will enjoy watching her battle."
At 5-foot-8, Kushko brings good size to the backline to help contain the opponents' top offensive threats. She's also versatile and can play anywhere along the line, which gives Page flexibility when trying to field a competitive lineup.
While she has the physical attributes that bode well for AUS competition, Kushko's soccer IQ shouldn't be overlooked. She has the ability to anticipate how plays will unfold and thwart oncoming attacks, making her an important piece in Pages' defensive schemes.
Offensively, she moves the ball effectively and communicates well on and off the ball, which is an important trait in any defender, as most of the action takes place in front of them and they're often tasked at helping direct teammates.
"I'm a hardworking technical player, who has a great attitude and can play multiple positions in the back," said the former Ottawa South United standout. "I want to show that I can meet the challenge of playing at the university level, but also contribute to the team's ability to win."
The highly touted defender said she's eager to meet her new teammates and return to the pitch, where she hopes to help guide UPEI to their first playoff berth in six years.
"I'm looking forward to learning from my new teammates and building something special on the field."