Euro Dino

By Kris Kotarski

It’s safe to assume that right this moment, Taryn Swiatek is a little jet-lagged. The 20-year-old goalkeeper for the Dinos women’s soccer team, flew in from Ottawa on Monday and stayed in Calgary just long enough to wave hello.

Swiatek has been playing for the Ottawa Fury in a semi-professional capacity this summer and due to her stellar showing at training camps for the Canadian national team, she earned an invite to tour Europe with the squad.

After the day-long stopover in Calgary, Swiatek joins the 19 other Canadian women in Sweden where they prepare to take on their hosts in an international friendly match on June 10. The tour will take Swiatek to Sweden, Germany and finally Norway where the team will take on the gold medallists from the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

"She’s their number three [goaltender] as it stands now," said Dinos Head Coach Robin Slot. "They’re going into World Cup qualifying next year so it’s important for her to show what she can do."

"I think they’re pretty high on her," added Slot. "Hopefully she’ll play. Friendlies are opportunities to try players and I would hope they’d give her a game."

Swiatek is one of the youngest players to join the squad, but Slot doesn’t think her age is an issue.

"It’ll be nerve wracking, for sure [but] I think she can handle her own," smiled the coach. "She’s mature, and she’s disciplined–I don’t think [age] is a factor."

Swiatek’s maturity showed last season with the Dinos when she juggled a busy academic schedule, with perhaps the finest season a Canada West goalkeeper has ever produced. She allowed only three goals during the ten game season and led the Dinos to a 7-0-3 conference record. Her stellar play earned her the Canada West Most Valuable Player Award, First Team All-Canadian honours and a look from the national program.

"She’ll be better then she was last year," said Slot with a glimmer in his eyes when asked about his expectations for next season.

While that’s hard to imagine, it’ll be interesting to see how Swiatek handles the spotlight and makes the transition back into varsity competition. Any way you look at it, the Dinos and Swiatek have plenty of reasons to smile.

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