Tyler has just been selected to represent South Africa in the COSAFA Cup tournament!
Meet Tyler, an International GCSE student currently finishing up her 2nd semester at Valenture.
She has played soccer since she was 4/5 years old.
Tyler started at Camps Bay soccer club, and played on and off over the years mixing it up with cricket, surfing, netball, swimming and athletics as school sports, says her dad Grant.
But when she re-joined Camps Bay girls soccer programme in early 2019, she was approached by UCT's Ladies FC to join them as a striker. While it was fairly daunting to move up to the open ladies Sasol League franchise (the main feeder to the provincial and Banyana Banyana teams), especially given Tyler was only 15 years old at the time, she decided that it was critical if she was going to seriously progress her soccer career.
"She started well, scoring two goals on her debut under tough conditions in a very rainy and wet game. This helped build her confidence and confirmed she may just have what it takes to excel at a higher level," says Grant.
Tyler went on to be the top goal-scorer with 20 goals in UCT’s 2019 Sasol League season, quite remarkable given she only played the second half of the season! "It was not without its challenges though and she ended up with five stitches in her head from a clash during one of the games and broke her wrist in another..."
The latter meaning she had to turn down a call up to SA national selection in September 2019. She did, however, manage to achieve her Western Cape colours and played a tournament in Bloemfontein in the same year.
In mid-October 2020 she was called up again to a selection camp for Bantwana Bantwana, the SA u/17 team, and has been selected to represent her country in the COSAFA Cup tournament taking place in Port Elizabeth from 4-14 November 2020. All this despite playing very little soccer due to the early-2020 coronavirus pandemic.
Tyler’s overall goal is to secure the option of combining soccer and an academic scholarship to study at a US college and reach her full potential.
The move to Valenture has been somewhat fortuitous in a few respects, says Grant. "It proactively mitigated much of the Covid-19 disruption which mainstream schools have experienced; it is giving Tyler a more internationally-focused curriculum and schooling more highly-recognised by colleges and universities around the world; plus it has provided Tyler with the flexibility she needs to spend weeks away on selection and training camps as well as attending the current tournament."