Comox soccer player Kaitlyn Anderson has committed to the UNBC Timberwolves for the 2022 season. Photo supplied

Comox soccer player Kaitlyn Anderson has committed to the UNBC Timberwolves for the 2022 season. Photo supplied

Comox product Kaitlyn Anderson joins UNBC Timberwolves for 2022

The University of Northern British Columbia Women’s Soccer program has started its 2022 recruiting class with a major dose of athleticism and poise, officially announcing the commitment of Comox Valley product Kaitlyn Anderson for the upcoming Canada West and U SPORTS season.

“I am really excited,” said Anderson. “Very excited to be somewhere new, have new experiences, be with a new team, to meet new people. Honestly, it felt very surreal until I signed the letter of intent, and then I sat down and thought wow, this is actually happening. I am really excited, and I am very happy. I am looking forward to it.”

The 17-year-old visited UNBC’s Prince George campus for a prospect camp in November, and had a chance to practise alongside the Timberwolves while being trained by UNBC coach Neil Sedgwick. The five-foot-four Anderson points to that experience as crucial in her decision to commit to the program.

“I was looking for a team that shared the same values and worked together very well,” she said. “As soon as I met the girls on the team, I felt welcomed. They were easy to talk to, and that was something I really appreciated. I went home feeling like that was a good fit for me. They are very involved in the community, and that was something that was really important to me as a student. It made it easier for me to see myself being a part of UNBC.”

A product of the Upper Island Riptide program, Anderson competed in the Vancouver Island Premier League, while being coached by Shawn Fiddick, Jerret Dickison, and Mike Oldale. Their training was essential to her development as a player, giving her a foundation that will be further nurtured by Sedgwick over her five years in a Timberwolf kit.

“Neil gave me lots of constructive criticism to help me improve as a player, and that was just in a short amount of time,” said Anderson. “It will be really nice to see how that progresses over the next five years. I am thankful I have found a coach that I believe I will get along with really well.”

The Timberwolves currently have two graduates of the Riptide program, Sidney Elliott and Camryn Cline, on the roster. Sedgwick identified Anderson, who has served as Riptide captain for the past two seasons, at the ID camp as a prospect that projects to be a contributor at the Canada West level. The TWolf bench boss and was impressed by her willingness and determination to get better with every training session at the Northern Sport Centre.

“I am very excited to add Kaitlyn to our program,” said Sedgwick. “She comes from a tremendous environment and has made the best of her development opportunities as a youth player. She has a real appetite to improve every day in training, as she continues to seek out new lessons and new growth. I am really looking forward to adding a player and person of her calibre. Kaitlyn will be a great fit for our environment, and we are glad to have her in green and gold.”

With the ability to play multiple positions, she is most comfortable at fullback or wide midfielder, where she can use her poise and fluid athleticism. Set to graduate from Highland Secondary this June, Anderson played soccer at Highland for coach Jamie Osborne, while also competing in volleyball and rugby, earning her the school’s Athlete of the Year Award on three occasions. She expects an adjustment transitioning to the highest level of university soccer in Canada, but she is ready for the challenge.

“I am looking to improve on my fitness, and on my first touch,” she said. “Really, overall, I am looking to progress as a player. By the time I reach my fifth year, I hope the player I am today is completely different from the player I end up being.”

The honour-roll student, who started to play soccer when she was just two years old, will arrive in Prince George this summer to prepare for the upcoming U SPORTS season. She intends to study science, with a goal of pursuing a career as a psychiatric doctor. For now, she is ready to continue playing the game she loves, and proudly don the green and gold of UNBC.

“I think I am most looking forward to being in a new environment and seeing myself improve as a player and as a student. Getting a feel for UNBC. Why do I love soccer? It’s the best. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”