The first time Kaila Novak found out she had been invited to a selection camp to represent her country on the soccer pitch, she heard the news from her mom.
To be more accurate, Novak just heard her mom.
“(She) actually opened the first email and she started screaming, and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, what’s wrong?’ She said, you’ve been called to the national camp and you’ve made the national team.’”
It was a place on Canada’s Under-17 team and a trip to China for the Four Nations tournament.
Not only did Novak appear in all three matches, she started all three.
On Tuesday, Novak found out that she would get another opportunity to make another U-17 squad.
This time, the St. Joesph’s High School student is on the radar for Canada’s entry into the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-17 Championship in Nicaragua. If Canada performs well enough, there is a berth in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup on the line. Three CONCACAF teams will qualify.
“It’s just as nerve-wracking, but I know what’s coming now and it’s just exciting. To see all the girls and be in such an amazing environment, I just really ready to learn.”
Novak seemed to enter the sport on a whole other level.
“I started house league when I was really young, maybe five. My mom would tell me that I couldn’t slide tackle the other girls. That wasn’t a normal thing.”
Novak returned from China and began to light up the OWSL Under-21 league in goals this summer as a 16-year old. She scored 16 in 11 matches.
“This year was amazing, I got to play with a few different teams,” says Novak. “In OWSL, it was a really packed schedule and I was lucky enough to score a lot of goals. My teammates certainly played a big part in that. I had a lot of playing time.”
Two area soccer players are already a part of Canada’s national women’s soccer program. Shelina Zadorsky and Jessie Fleming were both a part of Canada’s Olympic bronze medal-winning side last summer in Rio.
Given that Fleming is just 19 and Zadorsky is only 24, they have very long and bright futures in front of them.
As they continue to rack up caps for Canada, Novak is taking another step toward that kind of platform.
The latest news will take Novak to B.C. from Sept. 28 to Oct. 5 for an evaluation camp. The arrival of the email this time around has been no less exciting. There was more screaming, more jumping and more celebrating. If Novak’s career continues on its current trajectory, there should be even more of that type of thing to come.