The University of Northern British Columbia’s Women’s soccer team continues to look for the future, officially announcing the commitment of goalkeeper Hannah Stark of Maple Ridge to the Timberwolves for the 2020-2021 Canada West season.
“I am beyond excited to be playing at the highest level of women’s soccer in Canada, and especially excited to be a part of the Timberwolves family. It has been a goal of mine since Grade 8. From metro level soccer, working hard, and eventually making an HPL team. I have worked extremely hard to be where I am at today.”
The five-foot-nine netminder is a physically gifted athlete who moves fluidly and attacks the ball. The former Team BC Ball Hockey player understands the role of a goalkeeper, and is excited to push herself at the university level.
“I would describe myself as a player who will always be there to backup and support my defenders in front of me. As a goalkeeper, it is really important to be assertive and aggressive in the box. Take control in the 18. I take control of that, and I am there for my defenders.”
Stark visited UNBC’s Prince George campus in late 2019, where she was able to tour the facilities, and train alongside current varsity players. TWolves coach Neil Sedgwick says his newest recruit’s physical abilities and willingness to learn and grow were major factors in his decision to add her to the program.
“Hannah is a goalkeeper with the right character traits to join our program. She immediately fit in our current student athletes, both on and off the field. In our camp in November, she was asking exceptional questions about goalkeeping specifically and also about our game model. This demonstrates a focus on her development and that she is already looking toward the future. I am excited she has committed to come to UNBC.”
The product of Fraser Valley Premier, where she trained under coach Jason Bermudez, said the chance to train with the Timberwolves was critical in her decision to commit. Stark began playing the game in Grade 4, and took full advantage of her chance to soak up the ID camp opportunity.
“I chose the Timberwolves because of the unity and family community within the team. Everyone on the team has made me feel so welcome, and it is a great environment to be in. I got to train with the prospects, but also with some of the girls on the team. What stood out to me was how hard working everyone was. They were willing to help. Again, making me and all the prospects feel welcome. It was a solid environment and I wanted to keep pursuing that.”
The Timberwolves program is fresh off its third consecutive Canada West playoff appearance, but Sedgwick knows building a pipeline of goalkeepers will be important in the continued success of the program. Current TWolves keepers Brooke Molby and Madison Doyle will both be entering their fourth year this season, and the fifth-year bench boss is ready to add Stark and fellow commit Alyson Raper to the roster.
“We knew succession planning with goalkeepers was on the horizon, with both Brooke and Madi graduating soon. To have two quality individuals like Alyson and Hannah join us this year will give us more time to work with them, and for Brooke and Madi to mentor them over the next couple of years.”
Stark is set to graduate from Samuel Robertson Technical Secondary School with the intentions of pursuing biomedical studies at UNBC. The Honour Roll student will join hopes to one day be a physiotherapist, but for now, is eyeing her first U SPORTS season with her new Timberwolves teammates.
“I am expecting a high level of competition and skill, and the opportunity to grow and develop as a player. My hopes this year are to build a strong community with my teammates, especially with the first years. Just develop a really good team bond.”