February 11, 2010
By Ali Lee
Ontario native Kate Gillis is happy to have made the decision to move back to Vancouver after playing her first collegiate season at Boston College. The big decision was made in order to prioritize training with the Canadian national team in hopes of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in Argentina and participating in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.
After her first series against Chile in 2007, Gillis was already establishing herself as a threat on the front line and was later selected to tour South Africa, San Diego, Russia and experience being a host participant in the Olympic Qualifier in 2008. To mark receiving her 23rd cap, Gillis capitalized on a penalty corner late in the final game of the Argentina series to get Canada on the scoreboard and earn her first international goal. The final penalty corner of the match for Canada saw the Argentine goalie making a great save off a shot by Diana Roemer and Katie Baker was able to clean up the scramble by dishing the ball to Gillis who used her back hand to pop the ball into the open mesh.
Though Canada failed to steal a win from the Argentines, Gillis was pleased but not totally satisfied with the team’s results.
"After playing their squad three times it really shows me that if we dig deep and limit their opportunities, we position ourselves to get a result," said Gillis. "A three goal difference in a game is usually not something a player is too thrilled about, however; against the second best team in the world it is definitely a step in the right direction. We have a lot to take away from this series. It was a great experience, and scoring a goal was a bonus."
Gillis’ first time facing Argentina was no different then facing any other team. Her pre-game preparation is simple so as not lose focus and Gillis credits this to simply listening to music to stay relaxed and loose. As such a young athlete to be making such an impact on the national team, Gillis offers this advice to those looking to crack the squad, "Cherish your experiences and have no regrets. It is not everyday that you get an opportunity to play for your country. Just remember when you play, play all out and leave it all on the field. Make no excuses and get the job done. Play with heart and passion and remember that you always have your teammates to lean on."
Canada can expect some positive results with this workhorse power forward on the field over the next few months. Gillis will be training with her teammates in Vancouver full-time with her next chance to shine being the World Cup qualifier in San Diego, California at the end of March. The South America tour is proof of the progress that team Canada has made and Gillis is confident in these advances, "we are now getting chances against a top team and actually putting them in the net. This shows that we can compete with any team and that we will never give up."