Play soccer - see the world. It's not a new theory, but those who can capitalize on it are few.
Chalk up Coquitlam's Jaclyn Sawicki as one who's making it.
The 19-year-old midfielder has put her boots to work for three different programs over the past 12 months, but has no qualms about where the game has taken her.
On Sunday, the five-foot-two Archbishop Carney alum will be lining up for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC women's team to take on the Seattle Sounders in a 4 p.m. match at Coquitlam Town Centre's Percy Perry Stadium. It's the third game of the 'Caps schedule in the WLeague.
Later this summer, she'll be crossing the Pacific as a member of Canada's under-20 women's side for the u-20 World Cup in Japan.
Then it's back to Victoria in September where she will kick off her third year at the University of Victoria as a player on the Canadian Interuniversity Sports' Vikings.
Her focus right now is locked in with the Whitecaps, where Sawicki is returning for a second season - but in a completely different situation.
"I didn't play as much as I normally do last year, I had a role to play and I watched a lot," Sawicki recalled. "It was definitely tough and I didn't get that many minutes under my belt, but I learned so much."
The various levels of experience - including a two-game stint with the national senior squad in a friendly series against the U.S. last September - have been a big boon to her game.
"The experience has really paid off. As a player my attacking abilities have just grown, I'm more aggressive to the ball, I play faster and adapt quicker."
Those lessons - along with others gained over nearly 12 years of playing the sport - are paying dividends now.
Getting an opportunity to play for one's country, and at the highest level, has all come with the drive and talent of a former dancer.
Sawicki grew up eager to toil on two feet, splitting her time between her Coquitlam MetroFord soccer clubs and dance.
Until the age of 14, the two passions were in balance. Then, as she reached a higher competitive level, the schedules and demands converged, forcing the teen to make a decision.
"Dance and soccer started to conflict so much that I had to choose one. I started making the provincial (soccer) team so I picked soccer," she recalled.
Although she still misses dancing, there are no regrets.
Kick forward to the summer of her graduation from Carney, when Sawicki stared at another crossroad.
"When I graduated from high school I didn't want to
play anymore, she said. "I just wanted a normal life, I wanted to do my own thing - I guess I was just burnt out."
Following some motherly advice, the teen stuck to it and applied to UVic, where she's become a main standard bearer for the Vikings program.
Along the way, national team coaches kept an eye on her. Already marked for the u-20 tryouts, in September she was added to the senior national squad for a friendly match against the U.S. She made her senior debut before a crowd of 17,000 fans in Kansas City.
When the Vikes' season was on the line in the last game, Sawicki delivered the key goal in the 80th minute to put them in the postseason.
She ended up a Canada West first team all-star, and a CIS second team all-star.
Moving from one program to another isn't daunting, but it is a challenge, she noted.
"I wouldn't say I prepared myself any different mentally, but you have to be in good physical condition to be able to play with these three levels," said Sawicki. "If you're in good enough shape to be at the CONCACAF qualifiers, you can play in the CIS."
The March qualifiers saw Canada take silver and a berth to the U-20 Worlds, which are slated for Japan in August.
"We all went in with everyone here expecting us to qualify. The u-20 team hadn't really trained in two years so you never know. We had our own expectations - that the competition would be good, the games hard and that we would qualify."
As a ball girl at a national team game nearly 10 years ago, Sawicki basked in the glow of the nation's top women's soccer players, and still cherishes an autographed ball from the game. Now, as a member of the Whitecaps she plays alongside some of those players, like Coquitlam's Brittany Timko, and travels a similar path.
"It's awesome to be out there with them, to be playing with and playing against players of that calibre," said Sawicki.
"It's inspiring that they're still around- A long time ago I remember saying to my mom 'I'm going to play for Canada one day,' and my mom thought that was so cute. Now it's real."
The Whitecaps, who include fellow Coquitlam talent Timko and PoCo's Paige Adams and Erin Uchacz, will play a number of games around B.C. After Sunday, the head to Chilliwack, and return to Coquitlam June 13 to play the LA Strikers.