Photo by Chung Chow
Rarely does Richmond witness the development of an athlete as accomplished as 18-year-old Valerie Wideski.
The Steveston-London senior is a powerful and aggressive superstar on the rugby field.
Besides boasting an impressive collection of rugby championships under her belt, Wideski is also a member of the BC Women’s Rugby 7s team, the U18 Bayside Rugby Club, and the McRoberts Senior Girls rugby team.
She and her family immigrated from American Samoa 10 years ago. Since moving to Canada, Wideski has tried her hand at multiple sports—soccer, track and field, football—but ultimately fell in love with rugby.
Recently, Wideski was one of just 40 players across the country to be invited to try out for the Canadian National Rugby team. Although Rugby Canada has yet to release the final 23-woman roster, Wideski hopes to receive a reply in the coming weeks.
The rugby standout had no initial intention of attending tryouts because of the hefty $1,350 price tag.
Unable to afford the cost on her own, she and her younger sister reached out to the community for help through a Go Fund Me campaign.
Fortunately, Wideski was able to raise $2,230, far surpassing her goal.
“It was crazy. I didn’t know what to think when it happened,” admitted Wideski, “It was a week until the money was due. I thought there was no way I was going to be able to make that much money in a week.”
For life after high school, the budding athlete is considering a rugby scholarship to Acadia University. She wants to continue playing the sport at an elite level in hopes of achieving her long term goal: playing in the Rugby World Cup with the Canadian National team.
When asked about what advice she would tell aspiring female rugby athletes, Wideski said, “Give rugby a try. It’s totally worth it. It’s helped me get through the difficulties in my life. Play like a girl and you’ll be amazing.”