DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
Kia Pang has had a close-up view of the life of a university student-athlete, so she feels well-equipped to take the next step of her own.
Pang, a Grade 12 midfielder from West Kildonan Collegiate, has committed to the UWinnipeg Wesmen women's soccer program as part of the 2020 recruiting class.
She is enrolling in the Faculty of Psychology and will have five years of eligibility.
Pang played four years of high school soccer at West K, suited up for FC Northwest until 2019, and was also a part of both NextGen Soccer Academy and Soccer's Best Academy.
Pang's sister Sage played for the Wesmen in 2018 and 2019, and she said she learned firsthand all that goes into being a student-athlete at the university level.
"Seeing my sister play was really good because I could see what her life was like as a student-athlete at a real university," she said. "It made me really realize what it would be like to stay home and play here and play within the community, so I thought it was a really good option. She really showed me what life was like doing all of that."
Pang said a trip to Arizona in Grade 10 with her Winnipeg Selects side opened her eyes to pursuing playing opportunities after high school and it was then that she turned her focus to trying to realize those goals. She had a number of looks from the Canada West before deciding she would play for Winnipeg.
"That's when I really started to contact coaches and looking at schools that would offer what I would want to study," she said.
"My main thought when looking at a university was their education, if they offer what I wanted to study. (Also) … the coaching, the recruiting process, and just the team atmosphere was really big for me."
Pang describes herself as an offensive-minded player with finish in the attacking third of the field.
In Pang, head coach Amy Anderson believes she is getting an elite ball-mover and attacker.
"Kia is technically a sound player, and her first touch and game awareness is apparent," Anderson said. "Kia's ability to finish in the final third will benefit us as a program. I am looking forward to seeing how she develops and adapts to a higher level and we are looking forward to having Kia join our group."
Pang will join a recruiting class that includes previously-announced commitments from fullbacks Rachel Bridle, Mira Cerilli Koroluk, and Jessica Munoz, and forward/midfielders Tori Hauptman, Sydney Butler, Enya Bukvic, Izzy Myco, and Jazmyn Castro.