This is part of an ongoing series of profiles to highlight the achievements of Sheridan's varsity student athletes academically and competitively. To view the rest of the Student Athlete Spotlight profiles, click here.
NO POSITION ON the soccer field provides more individualized pressure than that of a goalkeeper. In a game defined by the fluid connectivity of 11 players, goalies are the lone outlier and the last line of defence. It's a position that is most often reactionary in nature, but knowing when to be assertive is also required.
For recent Police Foundations graduate Savanna Wood, the read-and-react skills she is honing will not only serve her while patrolling the Bruin 18-yard box, they will also carry over into her future career. She will begin the Investigations - Public and Private diploma as well as her third season in Double Blue this fall, but she initially settled on Sheridan because of the diverse learning environment she would be immersed in.
"I love learning about new cultures and different ways of living," she says. "Going into a career of policing, I thought Sheridan would give me the best opportunity to learn how people from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds live and what they value."
Although a law enforcement career may typically elicit thoughts about the physical attributes required, there are several soft skills - such as empathy, non-verbal communication, and the ability to actively listen - that are employed on a more frequent basis. For Wood, her time as a Bruin has been more about developing those abilities than the physical ones.
"Respecting everyone’s opinions whether I personally agree with them or not," she says of her biggest in-class takeaway after two years at Sheridan. "Everyone has seen or experienced different interactions with people, [and] it's extremely important to be able to listen to and hear different ways people view those experiences. I value this on a day-to-day basis."
The two years Wood has been a member of the women's soccer team has helped her build some of the skills you typically gain out of competitive team sports - like leadership and teamwork - but she says she has also benefitted by seeing how members of the team react differently towards directions.
After splitting the goalkeeping duties her first season, Wood was the unquestioned starter in 2017. She finished third in the OCAA in total saves with 94, but was beaten far less than the two goalkeepers with more, conceding 12 goals while they allowed 23 and 37 respectively. Her season was highlighted by a spectacular 20-save performance in a 2-0 win over Conestoga, and for her efforts, she was named MVP of the outdoor season.
In her final two years, Wood hopes she can help bring the women's soccer program back to the top of the OCAA mountain, but those aspirations pale in comparison to what she would like to accomplish professionally.
"I want to bring safety to the public and let people have a different perspective on policing," she says. "I know I’m not personally going to change the way people view law enforcement, but even one interaction with an officer could help people see that police officers aren’t bad people."