'She has my back always': Ontario sisters reunite to play soccer at UPEI

·3 min read
'We spent a lot of time off the field together,' says Veronica Kozak, left. This is Patrycia's first season as a UPEI Panther. (Kirk Pennell/CBC - image credit)
'We spent a lot of time off the field together,' says Veronica Kozak, left. This is Patrycia's first season as a UPEI Panther. (Kirk Pennell/CBC - image credit)

There's an argument to be made that Veronica and Patrycia Kozak should play on opposing teams.

The sisters from Mississauga, Ont., 19 and 18 respectively, have been reunited at UPEI as soccer teammates now that Patrycia is in her first year while Veronica is entering second year.

Based on how much they rip on each other, and their competitive elbowing on and off the field, you might think they'd be better off taking this sibling rivalry to separate clubs.

But that's not how they want it to be.

"When she's tired or she's frustrated, I know how to approach her and be like 'Hey, how you doing?'" Veronica said. "There's not much arguments either."

"Not on the field," Patrycia quickly said, correcting things for the record.

"We do that off the field," the sisters said in unison.

"I just like knowing that she has my back always on the field," Patrycia said. "On and off the field, she's always going to be there for me."

Parents knew from the start

Veronica tends goal and Patrycia is a striker, or goal-scorer, adding a little extra tension between them. The two would spend countless hours growing up with Patrycia making kick after kick at the net, and Veronica making stop after stop.

They've been playing since they were kids, on the same team pretty much every year.

Patrycia said she thinks her parents planned it that way, so they had to be in the stands for only one team's games.

Kirk Pennell/CBC
Kirk Pennell/CBC

A smart parental move, and the win-win of it all is that the sisters' relationship has strengthened on and off the pitch. Recently, that's included Veronica and Patrycia travelling around P.E.I. this summer, taking in the sights, sounds and everything else the Island has on offer.

"Honestly, just going on adventures," Veronica said. "We like going for a drive, and picking out new places."

"We spent a lot of time off the field together," Patrycia agreed.

'Dragging out' the decision

Playing soccer here together just makes sense. When Veronica first made the decision that she'd play and study at UPEI, she was choosing for her little sister too.

Their parents knew Patrycia would inevitably don the Panther green and white.

"They weren't surprised by that," Veronica said. "Before I started school, my dad's like: 'Oh yeah, [Patrycia] is so going to UPEI.'"

Patrycia laughed, recalling the day she broke the news that she wanted to study in Charlottetown: "My parents were like: 'It's about time. You were just dragging that along.'"

The UPEI women's soccer team already has two preseason games under its belt, with a couple more to go before the regular season kicks off for the squad on Sept. 10 in Cape Breton.

The Atlantic weather will take some getting used to as the season gets colder, Patrycia said, but she's hoping the Panthers can be playoff-bound at the end of it.

"I want to do the most I can for the team, try to get them to the playoffs," she said. "I just want to help the team in any way I can."