DiFrancesco signs with Niagara College
Stamina won’t be an issue for Kiana DiFrancesco when she joins the Niagara College Knights women’s soccer team this fall.
“I train a lot by myself so I think I am good with that. I know the effort I will need to put into it,” the Grade 12 student at Sir Winston Churchill said.
The 18-year-old St. Catharines resident’s training schedule includes working out almost every day. She runs on the treadmill for 30 minutes at a speed of seven followed by an hour of working with weights. Then it’s down to the basement of her family’s home where she kicks a ball against the wall to improve her ball-handling skills.
Last week, DiFrancesco became the first recruit signed by Niagara in 2020. Knights head coach Rob Lalama has been interested in DiFrancesco for the past couple of seasons and has watched her play in a number of the Niagara College Showcase tournaments, including 2019.
Lalama likes a lot of things about DiFrancesco.
“Her conditioning is incredible and she’s aggressive,” he said. “I think what impresses me most about Kiana is her patience and confidence controlling the ball under pressure.”
Lalama expects her to fit in well with his squad.
“She is the quiet-leader type and she lets her ability and performance on the field do the talking.”
He believes she will make a quick adjustment to the calibre of Ontario Colleges Athletic Association soccer.
“Like all rookies, she’ll need to make an adjustment to the level of play at the OCAA level. It’s a very good league, with very good players,” Lalama said. “She will fit in nicely with our strong core of returning players as we strive to build this soccer program into a provincial champion.”
Last season, Niagara’s newest recruit won an Ontario Youth Soccer League championship.
DiFrancesco is ready to play a number of positions for Niagara.
“I play defence but I can play midfielder as well because I can run and I do have stamina,” she said.
DiFrancesco describes herself as an all-around player.
“I’m very physical, I have good ball control and my speed and skill are good.”
Her goals for her first season at Niagara are team-oriented.
“I want to help the team as much as I can, be an asset in every way and I want to help the team win games.”
DiFrancesco was supposed to attend a signing ceremony at Niagara College a few weeks ago but that was nixed by the COVID-19 pandemic. She ended up doing the signing ceremony at home and sending pictures to Niagara. Playing for the Knights was an easy choice for her to make.
“I know that their women’s soccer team is good and they did well into pervious season,” she said. “And the program that they have there I was interested in taking.”
DiFrancesco will be studying in the occupational and physiotherapy assistant program. Her goal is to complete a diploma at Niagara and then move on to university.
She will be joining a Niagara team that went 5 5-2-2 last season and earned a second consecutive trip to the OCAA championships in Ancaster. Niagara was ousted in the quarter-finals by the defending Canadian champions from Fanshawe.
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