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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

From British Columbia to Starkville: The journey of soccer midfielder Sierra Bergen

Mike Mattina | Mississippi State Athletics

Soccer is woven into the DNA of Mississippi State University’s freshman forward Sierra Bergen.

Growing up in the cold-weathered conditions of Cultus Lake, British Columbia she was an excellent wing player, cruising past defenders and launching that ball past the goalie and into the net of various soccer complexes. When she left Canada for the United States and Mississippi, the transition of crossing borders into a new chapter of her life was at times tricky.

Bergen recalled an instance where she walked into the Walmart located off Highway 12 in Starkville and asked one of the workers where the washroom was, unaware that in the U.S., people call it the restroom. The worker looked perplexed when she asked that question. She also brought up how her teammates joked about her pronunciation of the classic Italian dish pasta, which British Columbians pronounced as paw-sta.

Other than those instances, however, the transition from her small British Columbian community to Starkville, Mississippi went very smoothly.

“It feels a lot like at home in a way almost because it’s just a tight-knit community here as well, and everyone is super friendly,” Bergen said about her first year in Starkville. “It was a really good adjustment.”

Before joining the Bulldogs, Bergen played for the the Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club Girls Elite program, a Canada Soccer National Development Centre (NDC) and earned a gold medal at the U17 Canada Nationals in 2023. She even trained with the Manchester United Football Club under-21 team in 2023.

Despite her grandmother’s roots in England, and Bergen receiving interest from the club, she was unable to play long-term for Manchester due to passport issues, and the time commitment made it a bit of a logistical issue. She instead decided to bring her talents to Mississippi State’s soccer program. What drew Bergen to Bulldogs’ coach James Armstrong and his team is that Armstrong saw Bergen as a midfielder, making the offense execute better to Armstrong’s needs and creating chances for the team to score like she did against her opponents in British Columbia.

“When he noticed that, I immediately thought that it was worth checking out Starkville, and once I did, I fell in love with it,” Bergen said. “And then after meeting with the coaches and everything, I just knew that we saw the same kind of vision for me as a player and also I liked what this program was all about.”

Despite being a Canadian girl in new, unfamiliar territory, Bergen found it easy to fit into her new college home filled with Southern hospitality and homemade cooking.

“Everyone is super friendly, so it was really easy to get into,” Bergen said. “All the freshmen are kind of in the same boat in a way, coming to a new state and just being on a new team and everything so I think it was just nice to get to know everyone and everyone kind of getting to know everything at the same time, so you kind of bond over that.

The coaches and teammates helped her learn the high standard for a team coming off of a berth in the NCAA Soccer Tournament. However, it was not easy.

Bergen came into training camp with an injury, still unable to play on the field as of now. It was hard for her to get to know her teammates without playing, as soccer is a huge part of her identity. However, she hopes to contribute to the team as soon as she can.

“I hope to contribute a lot by getting a lot of assists and goals and hopefully having a good debut,” Bergen said. “Just getting lots of scoring chances and scoring lots of goals basically.”

Bulldog fans will get the chance to see her play in the Maroon and White when the team returns to action this fall.

About the Contributor
Colin James
Colin James, Staff Writer
Colin James is a senior communication major. Colin is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
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  • G

    garApr 21, 2024 at 4:06 am

    “Paw sta”…you mesn “pass ta”?