WSOC: Timberwolves welcome impact defender Maleah Fernie for 2023

January 30, 2023
The University of Northern British Columbia has made a big splash, committing an impact defender who figures to play a major role in the program’s present and future. Today, the Timberwolves officially announced the commitment of skilled center back Maleah Fernie for the 2023 Canada West season and beyond.

“I have always really enjoyed soccer, and I have always wanted to play university soccer. I feel like it is the next step in me developing as a player. It’s a higher level.”

Fernie, a product of Kamloops, is athletic and strong on the ball and plays with the grit required to be an impact defender at the U SPORTS level. She visited UNBC’s Prince George campus for an ID camp, where she got a taste of the speed and decision-making required at the highest level of university sport in the country.

“Getting to play with university girls and experiencing their gameplay was great. It is definitely a lot faster paced. I think it is really challenging, which will help me improve as player, which I enjoy.”

Playing with Thompson Okanagan FC, Fernie has been exposed to strong coaching in her formative years. UNBC coach Neil Sedgwick’s approach to instruction and technique stood out to the newest Timberwolf as real positives as she makes the next step in her soccer career.

“The coaching is a bit different than my club team coach. It is nice to experience a different environment. I like how he goes through the basics and re-teaches everything. I’ve never gotten that through house or rep, or club. I enjoyed learning how to strike a ball and different types of movements.”

Sedgwick saw Fernie play in 2022 and was immediately impressed by her ability to defend, battle, and lead her teammates. The TWolves coach identified the five-foot-seven center back as a player with a tremendous growth profile, and the hunger to improve with every training session and every game.

“Today is a really exciting day for our program. We are thrilled that Maleah has chosen to become a Timberwolf. I believe that the fit is perfect and that her growth over the next few years will help the team continue to move forward. She is a great player and a great person, and I am excited to work with her over the next five years.”

Fernie is set to graduate from Sa-Hali Secondary this June, and join her new Timberwolves teammates for training camp in July. She will study in UNBC’s sciences program, and is ready to continue a sports journey that started when she first laced up her soccer boots when she was eight years old.

“It is faster paced and it is older girls. They could be fifth years or sixth years. That will be a good experience for me, especially as a first year. Even if I don’t play in year one, I will be training with them. I am ready.”