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Photos: McDonald family leaves big impression at SDSS

Nine years and a load of accomplishments later, twins Jane and Kate are the last of the super McDonald siblings to play on Sun Devils athletic teams.

A near decade-long run of excellence on South Delta Secondary athletic teams will come to an end next week for one Tsawwassen family.

Kate and Jane McDonald are key Grade 12 members of the Sun Devils girls soccer team that will be a podium threat at the B.C. AAA Girls Soccer Championships in Cloverdale.

It was eight years ago when the twins were in the stands at B.C. Place Stadium watching their oldest brother Jack as he captained South Delta to its first-ever provincial football “AAA” championship in his Grade 12 year. Another brother, Grant, was also a key member of that team as an aged up Grade10 and now plays in the CFL with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Their dad, former CFL player Bruce McDonald, served on the Sun Devils coaching staff.

It was then youngest brother Ben’s turn as he quarterbacked the Sun Devils to the No. 1 provincial ranking in 2019, earning all-star honours before continuing down the family pipeline to the University of Calgary.

Even with all the brothers’ success on the football field, Kate and Jane have made the greatest impact of all, playing on several SDSS teams.

Multi-sport twins

It started back in Grade 8, the one and only season the twins played basketball, helping South Delta finish fourth at provincials with Jane earning second team all-star honours.

They have thrived for the last five years on the volleyball court and saved their best for last, providing tremendous leadership as the Sun Devils dropped a five-set heartbreaker to Riverside in the B.C. AAAA Championship gold medal match back in December.

Now they take one last run for glory on the soccer pitch with Jane (central defender) and Kate (striker) holding down starting positions for the newly crowned South Fraser champion and provincial contending Sun Devils. They have been making an impact with the senior team since Grade 8.

“They play essentially gold level community soccer and they come up against the best from the (high performance league) world and they just have the innate ability to say ‘no this is my ball, you are not going to win it,’” said SDSS soccer co-coach and co-athletic director Brent Sweeney. “You can see it. When they’re on, they are on.

“We knew Jane and Kate were solid players, but we still didn’t really know what we were getting this year having not played for the last two years and they haven’t been playing at the highest (club) level. But they have been just outstanding the whole year, both of them. They’re the glue to this team for sure.”

Breaking the family pipeline to Calgary

If the twins are going to continue their athletic careers at the post-secondary level it will be in volleyball and it could be as walk-on players at Queen’s University. Both have already been accepted into the Kingston, ON school with Jane and Kate planning on pursuing business and nursing degrees respectively. The honour roll students decided to head east after all three of their brothers went to Calgary, making their academic options the top priority over sports.

“It’s nice to branch out a little,” laughed Kate. “For sure we considered Calgary a lot because it was all that we knew and the boys liked it a lot."

“I really want to play volleyball. We are going to go there and feel it out, just to see how it goes,” added Jane who was a provincial tournament all-star this past season.

Regardless, the 2022/23 school year will begin next September for SDSS athletic teams with no more McDonalds to lean on.

“Jane and Kate are special kids from a special family,” added Sweeney. "From their older brothers to their parents, it’s been a great run at South Delta. Now we’ll have wait for their grand-kids.”