As a five-year member of the Laurier women’s soccer team, Katie Bishop has seen it all. As a member of the OUA Championship-winning program in 2013 and a three-time CIS National Championship participant, Bishop is putting her veteran experience to good use this year at the helm of a roster filled with new faces.
A fifth-year, health sciences major from Surrey, British Columbia, Bishop has been a staple in the Golden Hawk lineup since the start of her career in 2012.
Bishop’s introduction to the game of soccer occurred at the tender age of five, when her parents encouraged her into the sport. A naturally gifted athlete, Bishop competed in multiple sports throughout high school including basketball, field hockey and volleyball, complementing her blossoming career on the pitch.
As with many high-level Canadian athletes, the NCAA was becoming a distinct possibility for Bishop.
“I was looking at going to the states,” she remarked, “but I was kind of late to the mark for that. You have to start looking for schools a lot earlier if you want to go to the states.”
With the NCAA off the radar, her attention turned to Laurier at the recommendation of friend, and former Laurier goalkeeper, Katrina Ward.
“I heard from [Katrina] that it was a great school and that she was doing well and the team was doing well,” Bishop said.
“So I started watching Nationals through a live feed and I really liked the way that Laurier played.”
From that point, Bishop says she sent head coach Barry MacLean a recruiting video and after continued endorsement from Ward, her future was sealed at Laurier.
Bishop was an immediate contributor in her first few years as a Golden Hawk. She was an OUA First Team All-Star in each of her first three seasons and a Second Team All-Star last season in 2015.
Despite the immediate success as a varsity athlete, Bishop says that she has seen tremendous improvement in her game throughout her career.
“I think I’ve really come a long way,” she said. “When I first started, I came in as a centre midfielder, but I think I really came into playing the specific role of sitting mid under Barry.”
Bishop continuously credits coach MacLean for molding her into the player she is today.
Playing for Laurier has definitely been the biggest thing for me. This is the most important soccer that I think I will ever play
“He really got me to understand how to play that role properly. Over the years, I’ve struggled a little bit with knowing where I’m supposed to be on the field, but then he’ll help me fix it. So I’m just really super comfortable in that position now.”
Bishop is showing that comfort level already this season, starting in all 11 games for Hawks, scoring four goals in that span while leading the team in shots on goal. With her consistent play, Bishop is setting an important example for a very young roster.
“I just try and come out every practice and game playing hard and try to be a leader,” she stated, adding that she sees a lot of potential in the young squad.
Leadership is an important quality for a veteran like Bishop and she tries to embody those characteristics whenever she can.
“I don’t ever want to be the low point for our team. I just want to be able to perform every game and just be present on the field.”
Bishop hopes that her leadership will help the team aspire to its goals for this season, which include a return trip to the OUA Championships.
“That’s kind of our main goal right now,” said Bishop. “Hopefully that goal extends on to nationals; I would love to make it to nationals again.”
A fourth trip to the CIS National Championships would be the perfect ending to a fantastic career for Bishop. When asked about her accomplishments so far, Bishop was quick to illustrate the importance of Laurier soccer in her life.
“Playing for Laurier has definitely been the biggest thing for me. This is the most important soccer that I think I will ever play.”
Bishop will return home to B.C. following the fall semester, with the intentions of attending the University of British Columbia for pharmaceutical studies next September.
“I had a coach say to me years ago,” Bishop added, “that when you step over the white line, you become a different person. When you step over that line, you’re there to play; you’re giving 110 per cent.”
Bishop’s commitment to these words in all aspects of her life is a testament to her tremendous successes both on and off the field.
With five games remaining in the regular season, there is no doubt that Bishop’s confidence and leadership will contribute to continued success for the Golden Hawks this season.