VI Wave’s Victoria Cronkhite earns U17 Swiss National Team Camp Invitation

It was just another cold January morning when Cronkhite woke up to an email written in German from the Swiss Women’s National Team. 

Unbeknownst to the importance of the message, Cronkhite went to school as if it were an ordinary day, waiting for her dad to help translate the message when she arrived back home. The news traveled fast and Cronkhite found herself bouncing up and down in math class to the idea of playing for her home country at the national level. 

“No way, no way this is real!” 

Flooded with a rush of emotion and elated at the potential of playing internationally, Cronkhite immediately called her parents to confirm the good news.

“It was probably the best experience I’ve had. That instant, ‘Oh my god this is actually happening. I have an opportunity like this, this is amazing I’ve been dreaming about this’” expressed Cronkhite. 

For Cronkhite, representing either Canada or Switzerland in international play was always a goal, but even with her success on the pitch she questioned whether it was attainable; especially coming from Vancouver Island.  

“I feel like there’s not a lot of recognition, not as many opportunities that you get in places in Europe and other parts of Canada. So this opportunity was almost like, I really, really want it, but maybe I’m reaching too far” conveyed Cronkhite. “When I heard the news, it completely changed. It just shows how much we’ve grown as a community on the Island. Getting that recognition has changed everything.”

Cronkhite has been playing organized soccer since the age of five, growing up idolizing Canadian stars Christine Sinclair, Jessie Fleming, and Swiss phenom Ramona Bachmann who have accelerated the growth of the sport for women around the world. 

For a young girl growing up on Vancouver Island, playing at the national level can seem like a far-fetched dream. While the Island itself is well connected, it can feel isolated from the rest of British Columbia, let alone Switzerland. Soon, she will be surrounded by like-minded young women, passionate about soccer in ways Vancouver Island can hope to one day emulate. 

“I’m really excited for the new experience of that sense of community. That sense of this is everything to these people. They want the same dream I do. They have the same goals. They want to play soccer, pure soccer. It’s amazing” says Cronkhite. “I’m really excited to get that much more experience, that much more coaching. Different coaching styles, different ways of playing, different ways of teaching how to play. It’s all very new and I can’t wait to learn it.”

Continuously learning and aspiring to get better every day will be the defining trait that takes her game to the next level. For Cronkhite that’s the fun part. Today, Cronkhite is working on Messi’s famous zig-zag-dribble. Tomorrow? A new challenge. As a center-attacking midfielder, mastering new skills and translating them to the pitch can be the deciding factor in the team’s execution in the final third. 

Cronkhite’s quality was clear since joining the Wave as a U13. Thanks to that ability, Cronkhite earned roster spots on Team BC, BCSPL All-Star selections, and was recently awarded a First Touch Football Top 60 showcase invitation. Now, Cronkhite looks to continue her incredible trajectory through this opportunity with the Swiss national team. 

As big a win as this is for Cronkhite, it’s equally important to the Van Isle Wave program as they aim to grow soccer on Vancouver Island and gain recognition for players in pursuit of playing professionally. 

Despite being only 16 years old, Cronkhite’s personal success and reputation within Van Isle Wave have young soccer players wondering what it takes to elevate their game to the next level. Mature beyond her years, Cronkhite’s advice for her peers is simple. 

“Reflect and understand what you can improve on, understand your best areas, and you have to put in the work to get there. If you want to be better, it’s just as simple as going out, running an extra one time per week, training on your own, not just training with your team. Just those little things, a quicker pass or a better touch can make all the difference in your game.”

Van Isle Wave has established itself as a breeding ground for young soccer talent on Vancouver Island. Cronkhite is the latest success story in what Powered By Pacific eventually hopes is a consistent pathway to professional ranks for young players such as Cronkhite dreaming of one day playing the game they love professionally. 

For now, we’ll cheer Cronkhite on as she dons a different kind of red and white pursuing her dreams in ways many of us can only envy.