Rick Stiebel – Sooke News Mirror
A local rising soccer star jumped at the opportunity to return to her home turf for an exhibition game.
Kiana Swift was “very grateful” for the opportunity to play in front of family and friends with her new teammates on the University of Northern British Columbia’s Timberwolves.
“Sooke is where my passion for soccer got kick-started,” Swift said. “I really appreciate coach Sedgewick’s decision to put on a game here and the opportunity to play in my home community.”
The Timberwolves begin league play on Sept. 8, which will officially kick off Swift’s first season with the team.
“I’m nervous but very excited about playing at this level,” she noted. “I love the increased tempo and I’m really looking forward to the challenge. I really want to thank my family for their support helping me pursue the game I love.”
Swift and her UNBC teammates played an exhibition game on Saturday against the Peninsula College Pirates from Port Angeles on Saturday.
The game on Saturday drew a large crowd to Fred Milne Park, said Laura Lockhart, in her third year as president of the Sooke Soccer Club.
“Neil Sedgwick was planning some exhibition games and approached me back in the spring,” Lockhart said.
“He wanted to showcase Kiana on her home turf at the brand-new field at Fred Milne Park. She’s a great kid from a great family. We gave her the president’s trophy for the 2017-18 season because of her dedication and how outstanding she is with younger players.”
Swift, who earned scholarships from the Sooke Soccer Club and the Lower Island Soccer Association, played in Sooke from the age of four to 11 before moving up to play in premier leagues.
Although she was disappointed that the Timberwolves lost 1-0 on a late goal despite a considerable advantage in the time of possession, Lockhart said the event was a great success.
“The Timberwolves totally dominated most of the game and it was great calibre soccer to watch. It was a great way to get people sparked up for the upcoming season,” said Lockhart, adding about 25 kids took part in a soccer clinic prior to the game.
Lockhart is pumped that the Sooke Soccer Club will include two gold teams this year, a U-18 boys and a U-16 girls team, for the first time in a few years. The adult teams are set to start play in early September, but there is still time to register online at sookesoccer.com.
The Sooke Soccer Club is also on the lookout for a volunteer co-ordinator and a fundraising co-ordinator.
Anyone interested in finding out more should email Laura Lockhart at firstname.lastname@example.org.