Whether it is on the court or in the classroom, Atlantic University Sport (AUS) rookie of the year Chhase McFarlen embodies the spirit of a student-athlete.
Determined yet fun-loving, his zest for life serves as a true testament to the type of students the university aspires to attract. It is hard to believe, then, that his post-secondary volleyball career started far from UNB – on the other side of the country, in fact.
Hailing from Port Moody, British Columbia, McFarlen began playing volleyball at the age of ten – discovering a passion for the sport that has carried into his adult life.
Working his way up through club and provincial teams, he excelled at every level of the game and was recruited to play at Camosun College, where he was studying towards a bachelor of sciences.
It was only after speaking with V-Red teammate Tristen Burridge, whom he had previously coached, that he realized he could pursue both of his lifelong dreams at UNB – namely, playing at one of the highest levels of volleyball in the country while studying kinesiology.
Although this was his first season at UNB, McFarlen easily adapted to life on the East Coast, saying, “One of my favourite things about UNB is that there is a much tighter community not only among the athletes, but also with classmates. I really appreciate how small the classes are as well.”
McFarlen’s first season as a Varsity Red was full of ups and downs as he battled back from a devastating knee injury that plagued him for several years.
“I had knee surgery in September, and then only started playing in November,” he said. “Because of the time off, I don’t really think I got back to where I was the previous year, which was disappointing. Besides that, I’m more than happy with how the season went and I have no regrets.”
McFarlen had only good things to say about his teammates and coach at UNB.
“I loved playing with everyone on the team, they were all super friendly and welcoming. There’s no cliques, and I love that,” said McFarlen. “I really loved having Dan McMoran as a coach. He’s very competitive and brings out the best in every player.”
He also praised the university’s state-of-the-art facilities and constantly available athletic therapy, saying it makes for an encouraging atmosphere for athletes who are striving for perfection in their sport.
However, despite his appreciation for UNB, McFarlen believes he could not have achieved so much without the help of his family back home. He credits his family and friends for supporting his move across the country, especially his girlfriend Alyssa Wolf, a third-year volleyball player at Vancouver Island University.
Looking toward the future, McFarlen is very clear on what he hopes to achieve in his final year of eligibility as a Varsity Red.
“My main goal is to win the AUS championship,” he said. “I’ve never won a provincial championship in my life, so to win one here would be a great way to finish my university career.”
After he reaches his dreams of achieving the AUS banner he hopes to do what most university athletes strive for.
“After that, I think every post-secondary volleyball player has the goal of playing professionally and I’m fairly confident in my chances of playing after graduation,” he said. “My dream would be to attend Team Canada’s Full-Time Centre in Gatineau and play with them for a year.”
In addition to being a star athlete, academics are also a top priority for McFarlen, who aspires to eventually enrol at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College.
Regardless of what the future holds, McFarlen recognizes how lucky he has been in life so far and is content with his numerous achievements, both on and off the court.
“I couldn’t ask for more, honestly. I’m pretty blessed to be where I am.”