Raine Easton, left, has committed to play for the UPEI Panthers women's soccer team next season.
Raine Easton is one step closer to accomplishing a childhood goal of playing Canadian Interuniversity Sport soccer.
The Grade 12 student at Rothesay Netherwood School will be attending UPEI in September to be part of the Panthers women's soccer team.
"I grew up playing soccer and always had the goal to play at the CIS level," Easton said. "I am excited for what UPEI has to offer me both academically and as a Panther."
Easton, a Saint John, N.B., native who will study science at UPEI, will graduate this spring with an international baccalaureate diploma.
Panthers coach Graeme McDonald said he is "thrilled" to have Easton commit to the Panthers.
"Raine has a tremendous work ethic, focus and determination — both on and off the field," he said. "She is a strong fullback, who has excellent acceleration and speed, a huge asset when defending and moving forward to join the attack."
The Panthers lose nine players this season after going 3-9-1 and missing the playoffs. They will lose their starting keeper, three centre midfielders and two strikers.
The team has already announced the addition of defender Jenna Mae Ellsworth, who will also play basketball for the Panthers.
Easton played youth soccer for the Fundy Soccer Association under technical director Jason Brown. In 2014, she captained her team at the Canadian Club Nationals in Mount Pearl, N.L. Easton represented her home province from 2011 to 2015 and was selected to Team Atlantic's under-16 squad and competed at the Western Canadian Showcase.
"Raine is an example to our young female players about dedication," Brown said. "It has been her goal to play at the CIS level and she has been incredibly committed to achieving that goal. I am very happy to see her join a quality program such as (the) UPEI Panthers and I believe that she will develop into a quality CIS player as she extends what has been a rapidly growing soccer career."
Cuilean Hendra coached Easton at Rothesay and saw her develop into a fine soccer player.
"UPEI is very lucky to have such a committed and determined student-athlete join them in the fall," said Hendra, who is also the president and co-founder of the McCain New Brunswick Premier Soccer League.