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Today’s soccer game pays tribute to trailblazing women in sports

Vancouver FC takes on Winnipeg at 2, but female athletes are part of meet-and-greet ahead of match
Caroline Frolic, the announcer for VFC home games, will be among the female sports personalities taking part in a meet-and-greet ahead of Sunday’s match against Winnipeg. (Beau Chevalier, VFC/Special to Langley Advance Times)

A huge smile crossed Caroline Frolic’s face at a recent Vancouver Football Club (VFC) game at Willoughby Stadium. Just as the broadcaster started announcing the latest soccer match, she spotted a young girl jump up from her seat and begin turning around, searching the stands for the source of the voice.

Making eye contact with Frolic, she suddenly smiled and pointed to the broadcaster’s box. Attempting to read the girl’s lips, Frolic believes the child said: “Oh Gosh.”

Frolic turns 50 on Tuesday, and this weekend is her 50th birthday weekend. She’s “very excited” to be spending it on the VFC’s home pitch, where her team is taking on Valour FC, and where young and old soccer fans alike will gather.

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, surrounded by sports,” she said.

Frolic is the only woman in the Canadian Premier League (CPL) to be doing this job.

She is what others in the industry call a trailblazer, and Frolic consented to share her story ahead of Sunday’s VFC home match in Langley that is paying tribute to women and girls in sports.

Her own love for sports began very early. Her father was a huge sports fan, and as young as two, she was watching the Vancouver Canucks live. At the end of games, she would grip the back of the seats and refuse to leave.

“I would scream and wouldn’t want to leave. And funny, here I am now,” still not wanting to leave the rink, field, or diamond after a game.

By age 15, she was proclaiming to her math teacher, Mr. Mallory, that she didn’t need Grade 10 math.

“Sir, I appreciate your attention, but I’m going to be on TV talking about sports one day, so you really don’t have to bother with me anymore,” she said, very matter-a-factly. Some two decades later, they ran into each other at a BlueJays game in Toronto and shared a laugh over her teenage declaration.

Turns out that is exactly what she did.

Trying to get her foot in the industry at age 30, Frolic started as a receptionist at CityTV in Toronto. There was a chance conversation where she mentioned she wanted to be a sportscaster. An hour later, the man she spoke to returned and gave her the name and number of news director for CKVR television in Barrie, Ont.

“They were looking for a sportscaster. I went up and auditioned, and they hired me. I’ve been a work sports reporter and anchor ever since,” Frolic said, working both radio and television, as well as announcing for various sports teams – everything from baseball and hockey to soccer.

Admittedly, she has seen a few changes in the broadcasting world and especially in the sports world throughout her 20 years in the industry.

“You still don’t hear women’s voices over the PA system a lot in the world of sports. Change happens slowly,” she said. But there has been what she describes as “some progress.”

“Women are being seen as human beings that are equal, and hey, also know sports. It was more difficult about 20 years ago. But I still have to prove myself daily to my fellow sports writers, anchors, reporters, spectators… We still have to prove ourselves, but prove ourselves we do. Slowly but surely we’re getting respect in this industry.”

Asked about the best part of her job, Frolic didn’t hesitate.

“I get paid to talk about sports. I talk about sports every day, all day, to anyone who will listen. So, it’s just nice to earn a living doing so. It’s just a lot of fun… It doesn’t feel like work to me.”

Frolic noted that even though professional sports are still dominated by men, she was shocked and pleased to meet so many women who work behind the scenes with VFC.

Claire Ye, for instance, is the content and community coordinator for the team.

Similar to Frolic, she fell in love with sports at an early age, and with football in particular at the age of seven – her father motivating her to try soccer.

Since then, she’s been working to accomplish her dream of becoming a professional soccer player.

She played collegiate soccer with Capilano University and was named Pacific Western Athletic Association’s rookie of the year twice, player of the year, and PACWEST all-star during her time there.

Ye also played for TSS Rovers in their inaugural season of League1 B.C., but after suffering an ACL injury late last year, she paused her playing career.

Still wanting to stay close to the game, she went to work with Vancouver FC.

She offered advice to other women with similar dreams.

“You have to set your own path and then you need to blaze your own way… do what you love and do what you know is best for you. If you do this, it will never feel like you are working,” said Ye.

LAST GAME WITH VIDEO: Two minutes, two goals mean a loss for Vancouver FC to Forge

There will be a meet-and-greet event with several female trailblazers in sports ahead of the game on Sunday, Aug. 6. Gates open at 12:30 p.m. with kickoff at 2 p.m. The panel will include Canadian Women’s National Soccer Team members, Langley’s own Georgia Ellenwood (a Canadian Olympic athlete), and other women who have dedicated their lives to sport.

Vancouver FC will be taking on the Winnipeg Valour FC at Willoughby Stadium, next to Langley Events Centre.

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Caroline Frolic, the announcer for VFC home games, will be among the female sports personalities taking part in a meet-and-greet ahead of Sunday’s match against Winnipeg. (Beau Chevalier, VFC/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Roxanne Hooper

About the Author: Roxanne Hooper

I began in the news industry at age 15, but honestly, I knew I wanted to be a community journalist even before that.
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