Plum’s Kaley Simqu commits to play soccer at Pitt
Sunday, March 13, 2022 | 12:01 PM
Kaley Simqu helps form the defensive nucleus for the Plum girls soccer team and has been a part of a strong run of success the past three seasons.
The junior said she is looking forward to her final season with the Mustangs as they hope to make another run to the WPIAL championship game and an appearance in the state playoffs.
Simqu also has her soccer and academic future in hand beyond her high school days as she recently gave a verbal commitment to join the women’s soccer team at Pitt.
She made the announcement on Twitter on Feb. 23 and thanked friends, family and coaches who helped get her to where she was able to make the decision to go Division I.
“I’m so grateful for this opportunity!” Simqu said.
Simqu, who joins 2021 Plum graduate Gina Proviano (Long Island University) at the Division I level, said Pitt has always been her dream school.
“Whenever the opportunity came about, I was honestly flabbergasted,” said Simqu, one of 13 girls from the WPIAL, along with Plum junior teammate Kaitlyn Killinger, to earn all-state honors for the 2021 season.
“I just couldn’t pass it up. My sister also cheered at Pitt, so I’ve been on the campus a lot. It just seems like a really great environment for me to reach my fullest athletic and academic potential.”
Simqu said she has enjoyed following the Pitt soccer program the past several seasons. The Panthers’ 2021 roster was loaded with 11 WPIAL products.
Pitt finished the 2021 season 11-7 overall and 4-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Panthers tied the record for both single-season wins and ACC victories.
Pitt began its spring season with a 5-3 win at Penn State on Feb. 26, and the remaining slate includes games against Youngstown State, Seton Hill, a Canadian national U-17 team, Virginia, Ohio State, West Virginia and Pitt-Johnstown.
“I went to a few games in the fall, and I’ve gone to their (identification) camps before,” Simqu said.
“I’ve been a huge fan, and I follow the team a lot. I could probably tell you each player’s stats and a lot of other things.”
Simqu reached out to Pitt coach Randy Waldrum and his staff, and the coaches came to a practice and a game for her Hotspurs club team. The ball began rolling from there.
“I have always had a dream to play Division I soccer, and that has always helped drive me to be a better player,” Simqu said.
Simqu also was in contact with other Division I schools such as La Salle, Youngstown State, James Madison and Towson at different points in the recruiting process.
She said it was, at first, a relief to have this decision behind her, but now, she added, the real work begins.
“I have a new drive to now be even better than I have been and a commitment to be ready when the time comes,” said Simqu, who acknowledged the reset focus also will help her during her final season at Plum.
Simqu helped the Mustangs in 2021 record their third straight section title and make their second straight appearance in the WPIAL championship game.
After winning the first two PIAA playoff games in program history and making the PIAA semifinals for the first time, Plum finished its 2021 season 21-3-1.
The Mustangs are 54-7-2 over the past three seasons and carry a 34-game section win streak into the fall.
“I am super excited for Kaley,” Plum coach Jamie Stewart said.
“She’s had that desire to be a Division I player, and for her to go through that recruiting process and verbally commit is a great thing for her. It’s great overall for the girls I coach at Plum to be able to do what they want to do after they graduate and leave here.
“Kaley has a tremendous drive to improve her game, and that will serve her well as she plays her Cup season this (spring and summer), gets ready for her senior season at Plum, and looks down the road to Pitt.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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