Katie Joyce sits outside of Pitman Hall, the place she'll call home this year, on a warm October afternoon

Photo: Nina Shu

Rookie Diary: Katie Joyce on her first season at Ryerson

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By Nina Shu

Katie Joyce, a midfielder for Ryerson’s women’s soccer team, is still getting used to the big city. The 18-year-old native of Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove, a small town in Newfoundland and Labrador with fewer than 1,000 residents, is nearing the end of her first regular season as a Ram.

In this instalment of Rookie Diary, Joyce updates The Eyeopener on her university career thus far, from balancing life in the classroom and on the pitch, to homesickness, to the exhilaration of taking the subway during rush hour.

Q:  Have you gotten used to living in Toronto yet?

A: I haven’t. I feel like I could live here for 10 years and would never adjust to it. I really enjoy it and I think it’s an awesome city, but compared to home, it’s so crazy and different. At home, it’s a tiny little community and it’s so relaxed and slow in comparison to Toronto, where everyone’s busy and there are people everywhere on the street.

What’s been the strangest, most ‘What the heck?’ moment you’ve had in Toronto?

Taking the subway was a huge adjustment for me because we don’t have anything like that at home. I’ve only been on a subway once before on a recruitment trip in New York. The first few times I took it here, it wasn’t rush hour so I got a seat and it was chill. And the next time I took it was at around 6:30 p.m., and it was madness. One of my cheeks was pressed up against the door and the other cheek was pressed up against someone’s back. We were like sardines, I was thinking, “What am I doing here?”

What do you miss the most about home?

It’s honestly hard to pick one thing. I miss my family so badly. I miss my friends. I miss my dog. I FaceTime them all the time; on Thanksgiving my whole family got together for dinner and they just passed the phone around. When I FaceTime my parents I’m like, “Put the dog on please. See ya, talk to you later!” One of the things I used to do all the time at home is go on hikes with my friends and our dogs because it’s so scenic and there are so many trails. So that’s one thing I definitely miss here. Because I’m looking around and there’s concrete everywhere and I miss the trees. I just want to see some trees.

Have you spent time with your family at all since they dropped you off at Pitman Hall in August?

No, but my parents are actually coming to Toronto for the last game of the season this weekend. I can’t wait to see them. I couldn’t go back for reading week. At residence it was cleared out. Nobody was there because everyone went home.

Now that we’re a month into the school year and you’ve spent some time on the soccer team, how do you feel?

The team pushes each other to be better and the coaches push you to be better, too. In terms of standings, this year we’re hopefully gonna make the playoffs which is big for Ryerson because we haven’t done that much in the past. And if we can do that, hopefully we can advance even further in the coming years.

What’s been the most memorable moment on the soccer field for you?

One of the coolest moments would be our game against Carleton a couple weeks ago, and it was live-streamed so my whole family was watching back home. We were down 1-0, and we came back and won the game in the last five minutes. I passed Victoria Watson the ball and she scored so we tied it, and we came back and won it with another goal a few minutes later. That was pretty cool.

How are you handling the school work alongside the soccer commitments?

We practice every day and we have games on Saturday and Sunday, so soccer’s taking up a lot of time. It’s funny actually, because the professors always say you have to spend a certain amount of time doing classwork but I’m like “I have soccer…” I think taking the courses I did in high school prepared me for sure.

A few years down the line, do you see yourself more as a soccer player or as a scientist, because you’re doing a science degree?

I always think that academics have the highest importance because anything could happen, like injuries, god forbid. You need an education to fall back on, that’s always the first priority. But I think soccer’s almost equal, it’s super important to me and it’s been everything I’ve devoted my time to. I’d say especially in the next few years, it’s the prime time to peak in soccer, like when you’re 20-25, so that’s gonna be a huge focus. I plan to be on the women’s soccer team for the next four or five years, or however long I stay.

Rookie Diary is a series in which first-year Rams bring us along for their rookie season at Ryerson. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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