Neil Sedgwick is ahead of the game.
Even though the coach of the UNBC Timberwolves women's soccer team is currently preparing for the 2017 Canada West Universities Athletic Association season, he has already recruited a key player for 2018. The UNBC athletics department announced the addition of midfielder Kiana Swift on Thursday.
"She knows exactly what she wants," Sedgwick said of Swift, who is entering her Grade 12 year at Victoria's Mount Douglas secondary school. "She wants to contribute to the growth of the program and it is huge to have Kiana commit.
"She has proven herself at every level as a strong decision maker and a strong contributor," Sedgwick added. "She has an incredible work ethic and a high level of maturity as a soccer player and an individual."
Swift currently suits up with the Vancouver Island Wave program and also trains with Epic Academy in Victoria. She came up through the youth soccer ranks, jumped to the B.C. Soccer Premier League and has played for Team B.C. Sedgwick, formerly of Victoria, first worked with Swift when she was 12 years old.
Now 16, she's looking forward to her future at UNBC.
"I'm really excited to be a part of the UNBC soccer program and be part of the community in Prince George," said Swift, who was in the city last month, saw the UNBC campus and had a chance to meet some of her future teammates.
"The girls were all really genuine and each of them was passionate about soccer. That was a trait I was looking for in a program when I made my decision."
Swift is known for her competitiveness but one thing she wants to improve before she steps up to the Canada West level is her fitness.
"I don't want that to be a factor that affects me on the field," she said. "I want to work on heading the ball, winning the ball in the air and gaining possession of the ball in the midfield.
"I love to possess and distribute the ball and I love to advance forward."
The Timberwolves will start the new season - their sixth in Canada West - with a Sept. 9 road game against Kelowna's UBC Okanagan Heat. They'll face the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack the next day in Kamloops and have their home-opener Sept. 15 against the Mount Royal University Cougars of Calgary.