The University of Northern British Columbia women’s soccer team continues to fortify its backline, officially announcing the commitment of talented five-foot-10 defender Anna deWynter for the 2021-2022 Canada West season.
“Honestly, it still doesn’t feel real,” said deWynter. “I can’t believe I will be playing at the U Sports level this time next year. It is exciting, but it makes me nervous that I will be in a completely different environment with completely different people. But, I know good things will come.”
The 17-year-old native of Kelowna has the athleticism and fluid movement that will help her at the university level. She points to her experience in various sports as helpful on the pitch. Along with soccer, deWynter competed in downhill ski racing, long distance running, and the javelin.
“Soccer has always been a passion of mine,” she said. “I grew up playing all sorts of sports, but soccer was my number one - a big passion of mine. I decided to take it seriously three or four years ago, and here I am now.”
Due to COVID 19 restrictions, the recruiting process was handled differently than in years past and deWynter was not able to visit Prince George to check out the campus and facilities. She did her due diligence digitally, before deciding UNBC was the place for her.
“I have always been attracted to smaller campuses,” said deWynter. “I like the idea of smaller classes. I won’t just be another number. I will be a part of a community, which I am really excited about. I am excited for the northern environment, and the campus is stunning.”
The Timberwolves have been training at the Northern Sport Centre, making the most of the season lost due to COVID 19. Head coach Neil Sedgwick has used the time to train his varsity roster and to connect with prospects like deWynter, who says her game has been progressing thanks to regular communication with her new coach.
“Neil is a great coach,” she said. “He will take the time out of his day to Zoom me, or shoot me a text with feedback on my shooting or striking the ball. I have already been improving, even though I haven’t even been up there yet.”
Sedgwick, who has led the T-wolves program for five years, says his newest recruit possesses a tremendous skillset that will translate well into the U Sports game. He points to deWynter’s compete level and hunger as ideal attributes to combine with her physical skills and is encouraged by her leadership which she displayed as captain of her high school program.
“I have seen her video, we have spoken a number of times, she has sent me video on a regular basis of the progress that she is making,” said Sedgwick. “Anna will bring an incredible work ethic and toughness to the environment, and I am really encouraged by her abilities already. It will be an enjoyable experience watching her grow within our program.”
A product of the Kelowna United program under coach Dave Lommer, the centre back offered a scouting report for Timberwolves fans hungry to see the newest member of the green and gold.
“I am a pretty physical defender, and I have a background in long-distance running, so my fitness is pretty good, said deWynter. “That helps me a lot on the field. I like to be fast in and off the ball and make quick decisions.”
Set to graduate from Kelowna Secondary School in June, deWynter plans to enroll in UNBC’s health sciences program. She will join her new teammates in Prince George in August to continue a journey that began when she was five years old.
“Everyone is going to be faster, bigger, and stronger, and so much older,” she said. “It is going to force me to adapt and get better, and improve even faster.”