Egbert Gaye

Early in her soccer career, Shari Fraser will tell you that “confidence” is all.
Fortunately for her, she had parents and friends who helped to boost hers, which in turn led to a Hall Of Fame career on the field and on the path to a professional career in the pharmaceutical industry.
Following an extended run on the soccer field that started when she was about eight years old, in various House Leagues in the West Island to five years as a standout player for McGill University, Fraser was inducted into the institution’s Hall of Fame at a ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel this past October 12.
“You definitely have to have confidence in yourself and surround yourself with the right people who can guide, support and lift you up,” says the 34-year-old, who emerged from McGill in 2007 as a perennial all-conference all star and a two-time all-Canadian soccer defender with a bachelor’s degree, majoring in geography and environmental science.
It all started as she was searching for her ideal sport in her formative years:
She says she was a budding basketball player when her parents signed her up for soccer at around eight years of age.
By the time she was 12, she began turning heads playing in House Leagues around the West Island, and caught the attention of the coach of the Lakers Elite soccer Team, who invited her for a tryout and set her on a course to her outstanding run on the soccer pitch .
Her prowess on the field really took off as a star at John Abbott College where she and some of her Lakers teammates stacked up a bunch of provincial titles and two appearances in the National Championships.
Fraser says she entered McGill University not too keen on varsity soccer but intent on securing her degree, but following the urgings of some of her friends agreed to a tryout for the team.
She was immediately scooped up by then coach Marc Mounicot and became a fixture on the team for the next five years, serving as captain in her senior year.
As if on call to the Hall of Fame, Fraser was a shining star from Day One with the team, starting every game in her freshman season, earning All-Canadian first-team that season in 2003 and again in 2005.
And by the time it wound up in 2007, her spectacular varsity career was highlighted by a laundry list of acclamations and awards, including being voted as team MVP twice, earning QSSF conference player-of-the-year honours in 2005 (together with Sandra Couture of the Montreal Carabins) and winning the Gladys Bean Trophy as McGill female athlete of the year in 2005-06.
She earned another feather in her cap, representing Canada at the 2005 FISU Summer Games in Turkey.
Today, the mother of two, who recently completed a graduate diploma in health and social services management, works as a therapy coordinator at Innomar Strategies, a leading patient-support provider for specialty pharmaceuticals.
As Fraser looks back on what she describes as a “very satisfying” varsity athletic career, she talks about the support she received from her parents and her friends in positioning her for success. And encourages others to consider soccer as an option, although she admits that she does not see a lot of young Black women participating in the sport.
“I’ll encourage all young girls to get involved because it’s well established that student athletes excel in their academic pursuits. And soccer is particularly helpful because of the discipline that comes from being part of a larger team of girls and the various personalities, all of which help to better prepare you for the workplace and for society.”
Fraser is one of six inductees for 2017 to the McGill Sports Hall of Fame, which was established to “recognize outstanding athletes, teams, and builders responsible for McGill’s continued excellence in sports.”