Her soccer honours didn’t end at Queen’s
For Raeleen (Dunne) Baggs, Rehab’01, soccer has been an important part of her life since she first started playing at age eight.
“My first real memory of the game is having mononucleosis at our first U-12 provincial championships but still trying to play,” she says. “I played one game and then fell over, and I remember crying and crying because I couldn’t play the rest!”
Her commitment to and passion for the sport was recently recognized with her induction into not one, but two, soccer Halls of Fame: the Mount Pearl Soccer Hall of Fame — where Raeleen was the first female inductee — and the Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association Hall of Fame, where she was inducted alongside her father as the first father-and-daughter pair to be inducted in the Hall’s history.
Raeleen played varsity women’s soccer at Queen’s from 1998 to 2001, garnering awards ranging from OUA First-Team All-Star to CIAU [now known as CIS] All-Canadian in 1999 and 2000, and CIAU Player of the Year in 2000.
"I remember feeling really intimidated at my first Queen’s try-out,” she recalls. “I had to go to the walk-on session at first as I wasn’t recruited or a returning player. When I made the team and met the coaching staff and the other players, I was thrilled. Outside of being named the CIAU Player of the Year and being voted the Hardest Worker by the team, my fondest memory is the whole team singing Green Day’s ‘Time of your Life’ after our last game.”
Following graduation, Raeleen continued garnering awards and recognition for her soccer skills. The Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association (NLSA) named her their Player of the Decade for her play throughout the 1990s. The NLSA’s senior women’s league MVP award is now known as the MVP Regular Season Raeleen Baggs Award.
While she still plays, these days Raeleen is more involved in coaching, devoting evenings and weekends to the Paradise, NL, All-Star under-eight girls’ team. When she’s not on the field, she’s a practising physiotherapist. Raeleen and business partner Michelle Shepard established Paradise Physiotherapy in 2003, for which they won the Start-Up Award and Community Impact Award at 2008’s Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs annual conference.
She also continues to follow the Soccer Gaels and is celebrating the women’s recent achievements.
“Repeating as National Champions only goes to show the quality of the coaching and support staff, the dedication of the team, and the calibre of the Queen’s soccer program,” says Raeleen, adding, “I do have to say that I am a little jealous that we didn’t get one when I was there, but nonetheless I’m so excited for Dave, Marco and the girls! And I hope to return to Queen’s to play in an alumni game in the near future. Go, Gaels!”