Head of the Class: Julie Armstrong - The Province

Howard Tsumura Julie Armstrong has a persona that can light up a room, but the best part of all is that its candle power seems unlimited. Whether flashing her smile in The Province's studios during her Head of the Class photo session, entertaining Vancouver Whitecaps fans with a determined run on the pitch at Swangard Stadium, or scoring a goal for Canada's senior women's national team, the 18-year-old Ladner resident just seems to wear charisma on her sleeve. Yet the creative striker, who was born in Scotland and is heading to the University of Oregon this fall to play for the Ducks, has always considered herself a small-town girl at heart. "Their assistant coach is from Dundee and I am from there," explains Armstrong of meeting Ducks coach Mike Smith during a visit. "And (head coach) Tara (Erickson) is so down to earth. "It was just little things like that," she says about why she chose the Pac 10 Conference school to play soccer and embark on her studies in journalism. "And the town is so nice. It's like Ladner, a small community." Armstrong began playing in the Ladner Soccer Association's Micro Soccer program at age four, eventually gravitating to Surrey United. But she has also played concurrently within the Vancouver Whitecaps' development system since age 12. "I have basically been a Whitecaps girl from U-13 to the present," she says of playing in both their academy and prospects group. "I can remember being in the stands watching and wishing I was a Whitecap -- and now I am." Another dream was to play for her country. Armstrong fulfilled that one when she scored for the full Canadian side against Russia. "I can't even explain the feeling," she says, smiling. "You look down and Canada's on your heart and you're just, 'Yeah, I am playing for my country.' It's pretty crazy." No wonder Julie Armstrong is all smiles these days.ulie Armstrong has a persona that can light up a room, but the best part of all is that its candle power seems unlimited. Whether flashing her smile in The Province's studios during her Head of the Class photo session, entertaining Vancouver Whitecaps fans with a determined run on the pitch at Swangard Stadium, or scoring a goal for Canada's senior women's national team, the 18-year-old Ladner resident just seems to wear charisma on her sleeve. Yet the creative striker, who was born in Scotland and is heading to the University of Oregon this fall to play for the Ducks, has always considered herself a small-town girl at heart. "Their assistant coach is from Dundee and I am from there," explains Armstrong of meeting Ducks coach Mike Smith during a visit. "And (head coach) Tara (Erickson) is so down to earth. "It was just little things like that," she says about why she chose the Pac 10 Conference school to play soccer and embark on her studies in journalism. "And the town is so nice. It's like Ladner, a small community." Armstrong began playing in the Ladner Soccer Association's Micro Soccer program at age four, eventually gravitating to Surrey United. But she has also played concurrently within the Vancouver Whitecaps' development system since age 12. "I have basically been a Whitecaps girl from U-13 to the present," she says of playing in both their academy and prospects group. "I can remember being in the stands watching and wishing I was a Whitecap -- and now I am." Another dream was to play for her country. Armstrong fulfilled that one when she scored for the full Canadian side against Russia. "I can't even explain the feeling," she says, smiling. "You look down and Canada's on your heart and you're just, 'Yeah, I am playing for my country.' It's pretty crazy." No wonder Julie Armstrong is all smiles these days. © The Vancouver Province 2008

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