Mia Rushton tackles another season with the Royals
By Eric Wilkins, Sports Editor
“She’s bled, broken, and sweated everything she could for this team, and just keeps coming out. And she wants the best [for the team] too. Couldn’t say anything more positive about her.”
Coach Ciaran McMahon speaks glowingly about Mia Rushton, and rightly so. The fifth-year holding mid is set to serve her fourth year as captain, and the responsibility is a challenge she’s never thought about backing down from.
“I was put in this position as a captain in my second year, so I said I need to be better. Be a leader. Be more confident.”
The no-nonsense Coquitlam Metro-Ford (CMF) product was born to play the game. While not quite Mozart, Rushton started knocking the ball around at the age of four, before getting into organized soccer the next year. And she’s never looked back.
Listening to her talk about her young career, it becomes obvious that she’s someone who’s hard to bring down when she mentions that her favourite and least favourite moments occurred almost simultaneously—losing in the provincial final of her Grade 12 year with CMF to Abbotsford… after double-overtime… in sudden death penalty kicks after the initial five had gone. “It was the worst moment. We were so close! But coming from where we had started in the season and improving to where we finished made it a highlight even though it was a bit of a lowlight.”
Though the thought may be absurd now, the Terry Fox Secondary grad nearly didn’t give post-secondary soccer a chance. “I’d almost written off college [soccer] in my Grade 12 year. Not that I didn’t enjoy that year, but I wanted a break… I had played youth soccer for so long that… it wasn’t as though I’d lost my love for the game, but I’d lost a bit of that passion that drives you to want to continue your career.” Rushton was also discovering her hard-nosed style translated well into sports other than the beautiful game, trying her hand at rugby and wrestling; she would go on to provincial appearances in both. But soccer wasn’t done with her just yet. The then Royals coaching trio of Randy Taylor, Scott Philp, and Wayne Trafton came out to six or seven of her games that year in an effort to bring her to Douglas. The attention came as a surprise to her. “I’ve never been a flashy player or had a lot of skills… I do my job.” She would go on to train with the team that summer, feature in a majority of the games that year, and the rest is history. Rushton laughs as she adds, “It sounds so corny, but that fire lit again.”
The Royals’ No. 3 currently has hopes of graduating from Douglas College’s Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching program. True to her track record, Rushton plans to continue being a leader on and off the pitch, citing her desire to be a coach and/or teacher in the community—P.E., biology, and geography being her subjects of choice. She can’t help beaming though when asked about the possibility of one day coaching at Douglas. “I’d love to,” she says, smiling broadly and then adding with a chuckle, “We’ll have to see if McMahon’s still hanging around.”