The University of Northern British Columbia Women’s Soccer team has added a dose of speed and character, officially announcing the commitment of Okanagan product Kjera Hayman for the 2020-2021 Canada West season.
“I am very excited and grateful for this opportunity to play for the Timberwolves. Although I have worked very hard to get on the roster, I still feel extremely lucky. I am really looking forward to the upcoming season.”
Growing up in Penticton, Hayman trained with PFC before joining Thompson Okanagan FC this year. She started playing the game at age five, but began pursuing post-secondary opportunities this fall. UNBC was immediately a possibility, based on the trail blazed by previous Southern Okanagan products who have donned the TWolf logo.
“Playing for a university hadn’t crossed my mind because I didn’t think it was an option for me. In September, I decided it was really something I wanted to pursue. I reached out to Neil and he invited me to the prospect camp. The Timberwolves have always had a good relationship with my club. A lot of players have gone on to UNBC, like Kylie Erb, Kyra Wallace, and Jessica Lewis. It really inspired me to try as well.”
The speedy forward visited UNBC’s Prince George campus for an identification camp in the winter, where she was able to train with Timberwolves coach Neil Sedgwick, and the active roster. The skill of the varsity players stood out, as did the culture around the program.
“I was intimidated at first, but the team was so nice and they were really open to new players. They were so close, and it was cool to see how hard everyone pushed themselves just doing a simple drill. The girls were all so close, they seemed like a family. I have heard only good things about Neil’s training.”
Sedgwick, who has led the Timberwolves to three consecutive Canada West playoff appearances, said the 17-year-old impressed him immediately at the camp. The veteran coach points Hayman’s raw skills and hunger to learn and develop as major assets.
“Kjera came to our camp in November and truly impressed. She is the type of player and person who will fit in straight away with the program. She is incredibly hard working and conscientious. We saw growth in every area throughout the weekend and I think that she will continue to progress quickly once she is in the U SPORTS training environment. We are incredibly impressed with her character. Quiet but deliberate throughout the weekend, yet taking on the information and applying. Kjera is a very exciting prospect.”
The five-foot-five Hayman is a previous winner of PFC’s Top Performer award. She acknowledges that she has much to learn at the Canada West level, but gave a scouting report of what TWolves’ fans can expect from her on the pitch from day one.
“I am a hard-working player. I am a winger and one of my main strengths is my speed. During quarantine I have been working on my sprints. One of my favourite parts of soccer is running up the sidelines and passing back to the striker at the top of the box.”
Set to graduate from Penticton Secondary School, Hayman intends to study Arts at UNBC, in hopes of becoming a teacher. She will join her new teammates for training camp in Prince George prior to the Canada West season in August.
“I expect it to be a lot of hard work, keeping up with the girls on the team. I am definitely not going into next year with the mindset that it’ll be a piece of cake. I really hope I will be able to make some good friends while playing a sport I love.”