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The end goal will be reached if the goals continue to mount for Kiara Levac
2023-12-29
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Kiara Levac has scored goals in a whole lot of different ways, in a whole lot of different places.

She has never before scored a goal in Ottumwa, Iowa – though that seems highly likely to change come next fall.

A gifted striker through the entirety of her career with both the GSSC (Greater Sudbury Soccer Club) Impact and the Horizon Aigles, Levac has signed on with the Indian Hills (Community College) Warriors, hoping to springboard from some junior college success to an NCAA Division I scholarship in a year or two.

The framework for that to happen is not all that difficult to understand.

“Kiara has that spark for scoring goals – you can’t teach that,” noted Impact coach and former OUA all-star Connor Vande Weghe. “That’s her biggest quality – she just finds a way to put the ball in the net.”

“When she gets the ball, she is looking towards a goal. She does the little things right, finding the open spots and finding the back of the net.”

Ottumwa is a city of just over 25,000 located in southeastern Iowa, some 90 minutes or so from Des Moines.

Though she is moving from one of the mining capitals of the world to the heart of the American farmlands, Levac immediately felt a connection to the school that has no less than nine different countries featured on the roster on their women’s soccer team (USA; Canada; Ecuador; France; Spain; Brazil; Venezuela; Italy; Sweden).

“In November, I had a chance to visit the campus and practice with the team,” said Levac at a signing celebration hosted at the GSSC office on December 23rd. “It was just a really good feeling. There was just a gut feeling that I could picture myself playing there.”

There might not be much that reminds Levac of Sudbury once she sets foot on campus come late July – until practice begins and the head coach bellows out the initial instructions. The voice she will hear is none other than Lockerby Composite graduate Jon Hussak, making his fourth coaching stop since heading State-side to pursue this career.

After two years at the helm of Texas A & M International University (NCAA – Div II) in Laredo (Texas), Hussak accepted the offer last summer to move north and guide the Warriors in their pursuit of an Iowa Community College Athletic Conference women’s soccer championship.

Indian Hills posted an overall record of 7-6-3 in the fall of 2023, battling opponents from Illinois, Wyoming and Montana – as well as from across Iowa. Not all that far removed from his own playing days, Vande Weghe shared words of wisdom that covered a couple of different aspects of the new opportunity Levac is about to tackle.

“Just take it slow and enjoy every second,” he said. “Every training session, every time you get a chance to step on the field – enjoy it. Connect with different players because she is coming from a club team where she has played with the same players for the past six or seven years. There’s going to be an adjutsment for her.”

“As long as she takes it slow and learns and listens, she will find exactly where she fits in and will success. I know it.”

It’s an opinion that is shared by the man who has followed her pathway these past few years, remaining open to the idea of a Sudbury connection being formed somewhere south of the border.

“Kiara has the athletic ability from the very beginning,” noted coach Hussak, a product of the Sudbury Panhellenic system during his time as a player in his youth. “The adjustment for Kiara is going to be the pace at which we play. We are a team that move the ball very quickly – and we rarely play direct.”

The approach is a merging of both the basic philosophical soccer coaching beliefs of the man on the sidelines and the international flavour of the athletes at his disposal. “We teach our players to play quick, but not in a hurry,” he said. “Being able to move the ball and make decisions quickly, without a panicked mindset, is something that is of high importance.”

Not to mention a strategy that Levac clearly embraces.

“The pace there is a lot faster, with a lot more rapid passing and movement,” noted the senior at Ecole catholique secondaire l’Horizon. “I think with all of that movement around, it will only get easier to score and finish.”

If that comes to be, her stay in Iowa might be short-lived.

“I don’t think I am ready just yet for D1 (NCAA),” said Levac. “This is the perfect way to get myself comfortable. I will learn so much playing with other players from all over the world.”

“Hopefully, it’s one or two years here and move on to D1,” she added. “That’s my goal.”

And if there is one thing that Kiara Levac knows a whole lot about, it would be goals.

Greater Sudbury Soccer Club