Chilliwack’s Katie Lampen is turning pro, signing with a soccer club in Europe.
The Sardis secondary alum will join FC Malaga City Femenino in a deal that was announced Monday on the club’s Instagram feed. Lampen’s new crew plays in Primera División B. It’s a 32-team circuit, and she hopes to get a full tour of Spain, with clubs in all corners of the country.
“Especially after this slow year, I was just feeling kind of stuck, like everything was in slow motion and I needed a change,” Lampen said. “When I stumbled across this opportunity, I knew it was completely right for me because I needed something that was going to challenge me and push me to my limits physically and mentally.”
Lampen emerged as an electric player during her one year with the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades. The fleet-footed forward collected seven goals on 33 shots in 16 games (14 starts), earning a spot on the Canada West all-rookie team.
Going through a recruitment service, Lampen’s highlight video landed on the desk of FC Malaga City Femenino’s head of recruitment.
“It was a really weird moment for me because I was thinking, ‘Nothing’s going to come out of this. I’m just doing it for fun,’” she recalled. “I was really surprised when they said they liked me and they wanted to talk more. Then I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this could happen.’”
Lampen has never been away from home and Spain is 8,354 kilometres away from Chilliwack.
“I’ve definitely had many nights where I’ve freaked out realizing I’m flying across the world for 10 months,” she admitted. “It’s scary because I’ve never been away from my family and this will be a huge change. But, although I am terrified, I think it’s going to benefit me so much. And I’ll be doing what I love full time.”
Playing pro soccer is a fully immersive experience, and that will help Lampen as she makes the huge adjustment. She will be living, eating and breathing the sport she is passionate about, and won’t have a lot of time to feel homesick.
“Because the people I will be with share that one thing in common, our love for the game, that will really help with adjusting,” she said. “Honestly I don’t think it will take that long for me to adjust. Because if I’m doing what I love every single day, it will feel like home.
“My parents are sad that I’m leaving, but they are the most supportive people in my life. Even if I said I was going to Russia to play tennis, they’d be behind me with that too.”
Lampen said the style of soccer will be different than what she is used to. She describes it as ‘less direct,’ and there will be a learning curve on the pitch.
But with her physical tools and work ethic, she’s confident she will fit in as she pursues her lifelong dream.
“Even if I’m not on the field, I’m just really passionate about the game and I’ll be really passionate about the team,” Lampen said. “They can count on me to be the loudest player on the bench, if that’s where I am, or busting my gut on the field, if that’s where I am.”