A New Chapter in Alexandra Ibaceta’s Career

Stingers Midfielder Improving Since Move From Chile

  • Alexandra Ibaceta’s work off the pitch caught the eye of head coach Jorge Sanchez. Photo Courtesy Concordia Stingers

Concordia’s first-year attacking midfielder grew up watching her father, Gerardo Ibaceta, play professionally in the Chilean league. With soccer being as much a religion in Chile as hockey is in Canada, she was lacing up the cleats in no time.

Soon, she found herself playing professionally for local club Santiago Morning, where her passion was really put to the test.

“Playing for the women’s team means that you really had to play because you love the game,” said Ibaceta, who’s a midfielder on the team. “You don’t get paid and your resources are pretty limited.”

“We trained five to seven days a week so anyone who wasn’t completely committed to the team just could not keep up,” she added.

Not only were the hours gruelling and the pay nonexistent, but the resources at the player’s disposal in Canada was a massive change from the ones back home.

Ibaceta recalls the club being able to only supply the players with a single pair of training pants each. She was also surprised by how advanced the facilities at Concordia were and she is looking forward to training and getting better in this type of environment

Aside from the training equipment, another big difference Ibaceta noticed was the style and speed of play.

“The biggest difference [between] playing in Canada and Chile is probably that I have a little more time with the ball here so I can hold it and pick out a better pass,” she said. “In Chile I would get yelled at because I like holding onto the ball and that would get me in trouble sometimes.”

After leaving Santiago, Ibaceta moved to Miami before coming to Canada two years ago.

“I liked Miami but it felt too ‘tourist-y’,” said Ibaceta. “That’s also why I loved Canada so much and adapted to life here so quickly. Living in Montreal was so much more authentic and multicultural that I just felt at ease much quicker than I ever did. It also helped me adapt with how busy the life of a student athlete is,” said Ibaceta.

She mentioned that getting back on the field was a big help for her. She wasn’t able to play organized soccer in Miami because there weren’t many teams open for players her age.

Concordia women’s head coach Jorge Sanchez was quick to applaud her work ethic and technical ability.

“Alex came in as a freshman and worked really hard every single day to get onto the roster,” said Sanchez. “That along with her understanding of the game means that’s she’s someone that we look forward to having on our side in the coming years.”

Ibaceta joined the team for a number of training sessions in the winter of 2016 but unfortunately was not retained during the 2016 fall training camp, according to Sanchez. She was given objectives to work towards on her own and eventually trained with the team once again this past winter.

“[Ibaceta] arrived at the training camp and had improved to the point where we were delighted to have her on the team and develop with us,” said Sanchez.

Currently studying Philosophy, Ibaceta is hoping to switch into the communications program and ideally go into sports broadcasting.

“Whether it’s in Canada or in the United States, soccer is a growing sport which means there’s going to be chances to cover it for a living and that would be really cool,” said Ibaceta. “There’s also always Europe where me speaking both English and Spanish fluently is a real asset, especially in the soccer world.”

When asked about her future in the sport, she spoke about how she was looking forward to returning to her old club in Chile for the offseason.

“It’s sort of creating a nice balance in my game because when I play in Chile it teaches me to not overthink my passes and follow my instincts,” said Ibaceta.

Regardless of where she ends up, Ibaceta says her experiences on and off the field with the Stingers are indicative of great things to come.

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