A weekend soccer tournament in the city on Aug. 21 might be the last time David Armstrong’s cleats impress the grass of the local Prince Rupert soccer pitch. The young man who has lived in the city for the past ten years is scoring goals on his way to play university soccer in Fredericton.
Armstrong told The Northern View, with his first year of university being online due to the global pandemic and behind a screen, he is excited for a change of scenery and to embrace the university lifestyle in the reality of his own arms.
He’s used to moving and the thought of moving, literally across the country, is not at all daunting for him. As a child of a Canadian Navy father, his parents and sister were often relocated and stationed in different places in Canada, like Halifax and Florida in the U.S.A., among others.
“When you’re young, you don’t really know what’s normal and what isn’t. So, when I was moving around, it obviously presented new challenges, but it wasn’t something I would be extremely upset about because I was so young,” he said.
David said moving around taught him the art of adaptability, which has helped him out in many situations already in his life.
“Travelling around and seeing new places is pretty great, especially for someone so young to learn to adapt to new situations on the fly.”
He said the only move he remembers as being difficult for him was when he left Terrace at the start of middle school to move to Prince Rupert. That was because he had a lot of friends and didn’t want to leave them.
“I was a little bit more established. But overall, I definitely wouldn’t say it had a big negative impact on my life. I kind of like what all the travelling has done and taught me.”
“Being a new kid is not exactly a common thing here. Once you get into your first class at school, everyone wants to immediately know everything about you. I was greeted by a pretty tight-knit class, and a lot of those students I am close friends with today.’
David said whenever the family moved, he would become involved in external activities after school, that he could continue in a new place, like playing soccer. He’s created a name for himself in Prince Rupert soccer circles by creating teams, being captain, playing club tournaments, then playing for a Northwest team, playing for white cap teams, and he made it to three international tournaments.
A natural at the game and playing throughout his youth, once he graduated from Charles Hays Secondary in 2019, David joined the Next College Athlete (NCSA) recruiting program in 2020. The NCSA is the world’s largest recruiting network which matches future star athletes with suitable colleges. The university coaches were soon reaching out to him.
David said while he had several other options and looked into different schools, he chose St. Thomas University after visiting the site in person.
His team try-out was in Jan. 2020, and through the recruiting program, college coaches could see him in action from videos and game footage before meeting in person at tryouts. While not a full-ride scholarship at the moment, David said he is certain he will work toward one either academically or through sports activity.
“After talking to the coach one-on-one, I thought this school seemed pretty awesome, and I decided this was definitely the school I wanted.”
Most of the players on the university team will be in the same boat as he is new to the school and the team, which will give the team the ability to grow and develop strong gameplay together.
“I liked the team a lot. I like the concept as well [because] our entire team, essentially is new. We’ve got three or four returning players. So it’s an entirely young core, plus all the facilities were super nice. It’s like I’m going to be with many guys in the exact same position and will understand exactly what it’s like. So, I thought that was really cool.”
He said while he knows his new teammates are great and good athletes that must bond as a team, he understands that it is still a contest.
“It is basically just consistency for me. I make sure to go out to the field … every single day. I make sure that I am in the gym every single day as well because I know while my teammates are great teammates — until we all earn our starting spots, it’s all competition throughout our practices. So, I just think about how much they’re going to be training and how much I want to be in my spot. I just continue to stay motivated every single day,” Armstrong said.
The school also offered the right combination of academics that interested him. While David had previously considered a career in the military following in his dad’s footsteps, he decided to kick away the grass creating his own path. In his first year, he studied criminology and justice, which he thought may assist with a military career but has since change programs to journalism and psychology.
David said he believes it’s important to study what is going to make him happiest.
“I realized I’m really into sports journalism and things like that. I thought that would be a really fun degree to do. Plus, I did quite well in my classes for that. I enjoyed them. I figured that would make me the happiest to do throughout university.”
In preparing to go to university, David has held a few different jobs over the past couple of summers, starting at the Prince Rupert Yacht Club with his first job as a dockhand assisting boaters with mooring their vessels and handing out information to tourists. This summer, he has worked at the North Pacific Cannery, administering the wi-fi set up and completing jobs that make the cannery physically function.
He said the move, another one, will take him far away from his friends who are also embarking on their university journeys.
“I know I’m going to meet a lot of new people, so I’m mostly very excited about that. I’m super excited about whenever we all come back, and I’m thinking about all the news stories everyone’s going to have to tell. So, we’re all going to different places, and we’re all basically excited for one another and happy that we all have such amazing opportunities.”
“I definitely like the trajectory my life is on right now. When I think about the future, it’s happy thoughts. I want to keep riding out how far I can go with soccer. I think there are plenty of opportunities with whichever degree I ended up fully committing myself to, which will likely be journalism.”
K-J Millar | Journalist
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