Former Rookie of the Year brings determination and work ethic to depleted RRC soccer squad

By Kendra Mackey

Kezia Balzer, 20, won the Rookie of the Year award last season for the CMU Blazers before joining RRC this year./SUPPLIED BY MCAC.

Kezia Balzer almost did not play for the RRC women’s soccer team this season because she didn’t want to compete against her ex-teammates from Canadian Mennonite University (CMU).

It was a tough decision, but Balzer said she wanted to continue playing her favourite sport, even if she had to play against her friends. 

“After talking to my former teammates, we agreed it would be fun to play against each other,” said Balzer.

 “I knew I loved the game too much to not play.” 

Balzer won the Rookie of the Year award and Scholar-Athlete award last season while playing for the CMU Blazers. The twenty-year-old also made the all-conference team. 

She’s a great addition to a team struggling to get enough players to field a full roster. 

Balzer is pictured in the Red River College’s Roblin Centre Campus. “Everything is pretty much planned out. It has to be for me to compete in soccer and keep up with my studies. I have no social life, my teammates are my friends and soccer are my social life,” said Balzer, 20, first-year Nursing student./KENDRA MACKEY

“There is a shortage of soccer and futsal players at Red River College. We have difficulty getting students to commit,” said Doug Lawrie, head coach of the Rebels women’s soccer team. 

“We’re pleased that Kezia joined the team. She is a strong player,” added the 58-year-old.

Balzer has played soccer since her parents signed her up for it at the age of four. The love of the game has kept her at it ever since. 

“I wasn’t a star player, but I loved playing and I kept at it”, said Balzer.

Balzer is the youngest of three and both of her siblings also played sports. 

Her brother Evan played soccer and her sister was in gymnastics. 

The two siblings spent countless hours practicing soccer together as kids.

 As Kezia grew as a player, it became more difficult for Evan to defend against her.

“We busted our back fence several times while playing soccer,” said Evan, 24.

Balzer receiving her all-conference award. She leads at Rebels team struggling to field a complete roster./SUPPLIED BY MCAC.

Balzer, who is in the Nursing program at Red River College, says that between soccer and school, she has very little free time. 

“Everything is pretty much planned out. It has to be for me to compete in soccer and keep up with my studies. I have no social life,” said Balzer.

Despite this, Balzer says she feels fulfilled playing the game. 

“My teammates are my friends and soccer is my social life.”

The Rebels women’s soccer team was eliminated in the semi-finals this season, but Kezia Balzer says she doesn’t see herself giving up soccer anytime soon.