VANCOUVER, BC - As the Vancouver Whitecaps FC women prepare for a pivotal playoff showdown this weekend in California, they can be confident in one thing above all else - their ability to stop the other team from scoring. This is in large part due to the backline, where goalkeeper Jaclyn Dunnett and the ‘Caps defence have been a key piece to the continued Whitecaps success. “I couldn’t do it without the team,” said Dunnett, when asked about her personal success.
A native of Burnaby, BC, Dunnett remembers always being involved in every sport possible. She grew up playing soccer, baseball, and volleyball and was also involved in track and field, starting her soccer career at the age of four when she played on her first team, the Burnaby Devils.
Dunnett realized her passion for the sport at the age of 15, when she was asked to play goalkeeper in a club tournament in California. Although she had not previously played in this position, she quickly excelled as a goalkeeper, being named to the U-16 BC Provincial team later that year. In 2005, playing with the BC Provincial team, Dunnett backstopped the squad to a gold medal at the Canada Games.
After completing high school, Dunnett enrolled at the University of British Columbia, where she majored in Anthropology. She enjoyed a five-year career with the UBC soccer team, where in 2006 she led UBC to their third Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) women’s soccer championship in five years. During her time at UBC, Jaclyn was named a CIS First Team All-Canadian and a Canada West First Team All-Star. In her final season with UBC she was named an All-Canadian after recording eight shutouts. Dunnett also acted as the UBC squad’s captain.
An integral part of the club, Dunnett joined Vancouver Whitecaps FC in 2006, playing for two seasons before returning in 2009.
“Jackie always looks to lead by example and brings a commanding presence to our backline,” says Hubert Busby Jr., Whitecaps FC women’s head coach.
“When preparing for a match, she tries not to stress about the task at hand, but to think of the aspects of the other team’s game that she feels could be a challenge. All goalkeepers need to be highly focused, and Jaclyn is a very focused and vocal individual who communicates well with her defenders.”
Dunnett partly attributes the team’s success this season to the close knit feeling they all share, and stated that this squad is one of the tightest teams she has ever played on. “We work great together as a team and are able to work off of one another. We’ve meshed well, and that’s helped us on the field,” said Dunnett.
Although team members come from different schools and backgrounds to play together for the short summer season, she believes that their daily practices and the characters on the team have led to the bond that has been created. Some of the team “characters” that jump out at her are defender Lexi Marton, “who keeps everyone laughing,” and captain Kelsey Hood, who is a “fantastic leader,” said Dunnett. “Everyone brings something very unique to the table which is what has made us so strong. We all have unique characteristics and skills both on and off the field” said Dunnett.
Dunnett modestly attributes her success to her teammates but also to her role models – her mom and dad. “My parents have been there for me through it all. They deserve all the credit,” she said.
As the team prepares for this Sunday’s playoff showdown with the Santa Clarita Blue Heat, Dunnett believes that the team needs to stay calm and play the way they know they can. She describes this year as “intense but fantastic.” She is looking forward to making a long playoff run, and said she will miss her teammates once the season comes to a close.
Although soccer and Whitecaps FC are such a large part of Dunnett’s life, in her spare time she works at two different jobs, sings in her dad’s band, and loves hiking, camping and spending time with her friends and family.
A focused professional, Dunnett is well-positioned for further success in net – as is the team in front of her.