Grade 9 Bert Church High School honour student Ainsley Kirk’s enthusiasm and dedication to sports is impressive.

The 14-year-old plays soccer, competing at the highest level for her age – the Alberta Regional Program of Excellence – a pathway to the Canadian Youth National Team.

“The thing I like most about the sport are the relationships and opportunities I’ve experienced,” she says. “An important thing for me is the friendships I’ve built that I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for soccer.”

Kirk also enjoys the travel opportunities to places like Phoenix, Las Vegas and Seattle for tournaments. In April, her soccer team will be going to England.

She commits to five days of training and practices every week, which includes travelling into Calgary. Kirk also plays school soccer, volleyball and basketball and was previously in the Basketball Alberta training program.

“Coaching or teaching a student like Ainsley is a teacher’s dream, as she always strives to achieve the highest standards and wants to become better at everything,” says Suzanne Beckett, Kirk’s coach for the school’s junior varsity volleyball team.

“She has proven to be an asset to her school, community and provincial sport organizations and is a conscientious student as well.”

Kirk says sports have been part of her family life since she was a child as both of her older sisters played soccer and basketball.

She adds her long-term goals are to play either soccer or basketball at the university level and to coach someday.