Melissa Artuso, who sparked the Capilano Blues to a pair of Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association crowns in Women’s Soccer, was inducted into the CCAA Hall of Fame in the Athlete Category.
Artuso led the Blues to CCAA National Championships in 1995 and 1996. She was, on both occasions, named to the tournament all-star team. In 1995, Artuso also earned the Individual Fair Play Award at CCAA Nationals.
She is a three-time CCAA All-Canadian (1994-96) and was named the CCAA Women’s Soccer Player of the Year in 1996. In three seasons with the Blues, Artuso scored 30 goals in 31 British Columbia Colleges Athletic Association (BCCAA, now PACWEST) games.
“Melissa was the driving force for the Blues during the mid-1990’s,” said Milt Williams, Manager, Athletics and Recreation at Capilano University. “She demonstrated consistent success on the playing field and made those players around her better, which allowed them to reach their objective of national champions.”
Artuso understood that hard work, unity and integrity were all just as important as the score at the end of the game according to Williams.
“She always got the job done, but she would not sacrifice character for the sake of a win,” he said. “The fact that she had the work ethic to back it up made her the player that everyone wanted to have; coachable, honourable and skilled.”
Artuso recalls the infamous 1995 CCAA Women’s Soccer National Championship in Medicine Hat, AB, as a memorable experience. A snowstorm hit at the beginning of the Championship and frigid wind-chills were a factor all week.
“It was a horrible weekend for a national soccer competition,” said Artuso.
But, the fields were plowed prior to the games and tents were set up with heaters and hot chocolate for the student-athletes.
“We had jars of Vaseline that we put on our faces and ears in hopes to fend off the cold,” she said. “The best part of the weekend was that through hard work we came out with a gold medal – it was truly an unforgettable experience.”
Artuso feels fortunate to have made such amazing friends at Capilano, where she had fantastic teammates and was coached by the very best – fellow CCAA Hall of Fame inductee Doug Abercrombie.
She also relished the opportunity to play at Capilano with her older sister Michelle, who she’s played with since they were minor soccer players.
“For two seasons, we would travel to practices and games together, then do a post-game analysis on the drive home,” said Artuso. “She was a great player and made me a better player on the field.”