Loewen Leaps to the Tommies
After his second year playing university-level soccer, Adam Loewen was ready to step away from the sport. Playing for the UNB REDS men’s soccer team, Loewen said the grind led to him hating going to practice and not having fun.
Flash forward to his third year — Loewen is suiting up for the Tommies and studying at St. Thomas University while he chips away at his mechanical engineering degree at UNB. So far, he’s enjoying playing for STU.
“I was surprised how quick they took me under their wing,” he said.
He described the environment at STU as more relaxed.
“People seem like they’re enjoying themselves.”
Born in Farmington, Me., Loewen started playing recreational soccer around the age of five. His parents are from Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, so it was a natural choice to move to the Maritimes for school, where he has spent many of his summers.
Once he reached high school, Loewen started to take the sport more seriously.
A midfielder for most of his life, Loewen previously played for Western Maine United in his early years, then Central Maine United, before playing with UNB. He even had a short stint on the Maine Olympic Development Program team.
While on Central Maine United, Loewen played for coach Gary Walker, who previously played for Manchester United. Walker’s rich soccer background helped Loewen get to the university level.
“He kind of helped me take that step from, ‘now you’re playing in rural Maine for fun, how can we expand that if you want to do something,’” said Loewen.
Another coach who had an impact was Loewen’s first club coach, who made him “fall in love with the sport.”
In 2019, Loewen took a trip to Italy with his club team, to take on opponents in Europe. It was this memory that he described when explaining what he loves most about soccer.
What struck him was the passion for the sport.
While he hopes to take soccer as far as he can, Loewen is happy to focus on his career and schooling. This past summer, he worked with a power company in Edmonton while playing soccer for the Sherwood Park Phoenix.
Loewen’s hardest obstacles have been mental struggles, especially in his first two years of university. Now, he feels that he’s in a healthy spot after acknowledging the pressures of being a student-athlete and focusing on other aspects of his life, not just soccer.
“Through that time, I started picking up other things and realizing okay, I’m not just a soccer player.”
Steeves finds home on STU rugby team
Five years ago, Macey Steeves didn’t know what rugby was. Now, she’s in her second year with the STU women’s rugby team, as a part of the team’s leadership group.
In her grade nine year, Steeves joined the École Sainte-Anne rugby team to spend more time with her friends, which quickly turned into her captaining the team and winning Most Valuable Player in her grade 11 year.
Most importantly, she says playing rugby helps her feel confident and strong. The positive culture on the STU women’s rugby team plays a role in that. The team spends time together away from the pitch and Steeves describes them as super close friends.
“It’s really just a positive environment for everybody.”
Born in Saint John, Steeves moved to Fredericton at a young age and has lived here since. She fits the mould for many sports — having tried gymnastics, soccer and badminton before settling on rugby. She says the financial aspect of certain sports made it hard for her to join, which made rugby the perfect choice.
At STU, Steeves has the opportunity to work with head coach Becca Baker, a STU alum, whom she really looks up to.
“She is a super inspirational person,” said Steeves, adding that she admires how Baker is involved in the community and was a varsity athlete herself.
Baker is also going into the social work program, which aligns with Steeves’ hopes to work with children.
“I think that there’s not a lot of education and knowledge on children and mental health,” she said.
The most difficult part of playing varsity rugby is how much impact your body has to take on the daily, said Steeves.
“It’s physically draining when you have that on top of every morning making sure you’re attending your classes … when your body literally doesn’t want to get out of bed. That’s physically draining and then having to balance everything else.”
Last year, she suffered a concussion which left her feeling isolated from the team and set her back academically.
“I wasn’t even able to think straight or I was falling asleep in class, I was falling asleep wherever I went,” said Steeves. “That affected my mental health a lot.”
Steeves applied to many different universities and was originally unsure where she wanted to attend. One of her high school coaches, Emily Donelle, also coaches at STU and suggested she come to the small liberal arts university.
“She said ‘well, if you go, we’d love to have you play rugby for us,’” said Steeves. “And I was like, ‘Perfect. That’s where I’m going.’”