Archibald relieved decision to go to University of Illinois official

Mya Archibald signing her commitment to Illinois on U.S. Signing Day. (Submitted photo)

BURNABY, B.C.: Mya Archibald is relieved to have made her decision on where she will suit up next September for Division 1 women’s soccer.

The Fall River soccer star, who is playing with the Vancouver Whitecaps girls elite academy, recently announced that after an almost year-long recruitment process she will be heading to Illinois to play NCAA Division 1 women’s soccer. It was announced on NCAA Signing Day.

In an interview with The Laker News, Archibald said she began the recruitment process back in the spring of 2021 and between then and until she committed to Illinois last June there was a lot of reaching out to coaches and researching schools and soccer programs.

“It was a lot of work for something I really knew little about going into,” said Archibald. “It’s a relief to be through that process and be so fortunate to be going to the University of Illinois.”

Archibald said Illinois has great coaching and they’re at a turning point in their program.

“They’ve just moved into a new female only training center and soccer stadium which has helped them with recruiting that’s going to start paying off soon,” she said. “Academically they’re ranked in the top ten schools in the US for engineering which was important to me.

“I’m lucky to be getting the best of both.”

She said she was fortunate to have an amazing recruiter who played a big role in helping her narrow down the choices.

“In the end it was between two schools, and both offered similar scholarship packages, so I was lucky to have that choice,” she said. “Illinois just felt right.”

Illinois soccer head coach Janet Rayfield spoke about the addition of Archibald to the Illinois roster.

“A successful track athlete as well, Mya Archibald, has excellent pace and brings the technical and tactical level demanded to reach the international level of success she has achieved,” said Rayfield in an Illinois release. “Her recent move to outside-back for the Canadian National Team shows her versatility and ability on both sides of the ball.

“Not to make comparisons but it is fitting to welcome Mya to the Illini family on the heels of celebrating the induction of former Canadian national team defender, Emily Zurrer, into the Illini Athletics Hall of Fame.

“Mya has a bright future ahead of her both in Orange and Blue and for her country.”

Archibald visited the campus and had numerous conversations with the coaching which all helped in the decision-making process.

“I also felt they really knew what I wanted going forward for my game and they’re excited to help me get there,” said Archibald.

The 17-year-old, who is in Grade 12 at Burnaby Central, said with the news finally out there her focus turns to working continuously on her game, something being part of the Whitecaps program will help with immensely.

“It’ll help prepare me for the move to D1 soccer which I’m looking forward to,” she said.

Archibald expects Division 1 to be tough, but it’s a challenge for which she is yearning.

She wants to remain part of the Canadian National program. Going pro someday has always been a dream for Archibald.

“I’m always looking to improve my game,” she said.