Sometimes, all an athlete needs is a chance to get noticed.
That was the case for Moscow soccer’s Ally Gerke, whose play caught the eye of Peninsula College coach Kanyon Anderson during a tournament in Seattle with her club team, the Eastern Washington Surfs out of Spokane.
“(Anderson) approached me and he said they were looking for a goal scorer for their team,” Gerke said. “So then I got connected with him a little more and I visited Peninsula College and practiced with their team and trained with them, and that just really made me decide that I wanted to go there after that visit.”
Gerke signed a national letter of intent Thursday with the Pirates. Peninsula College is a community college in Port Angeles, Wash., that competes in the Northwest Athletic Conference.
The senior striker led the Bears with 11 goals and nine assists last season, before missing the district championship with a concussion and nine stitches.
But despite missing the title game, Gerke’s season had plenty of big moments.
In Moscow’s opener, she tallied an assist and two goals, including a 40-yarder on a free kick in a 4-0 win against Post Falls.
In the next game against Coeur d’Alene, Gerke notched a 25-yard goal from the corner to help the Bears to a 3-3 tie against the 5A team for the first time in her career.
But her best game came against 4A Inland Empire Conference foe Lakelend, when Gerke notched a hat trick in the second half of a 5-0 victory. Moscow finished the season 7-5-3.
Gerke said she’s played organized soccer since she was about 4 years old. Before that, she would play in the backyard with her older brother, Noah Leibnitz, and continued to practice with him all the way through middle school.
“I really like the athleticism and the competitiveness of soccer,” Gerke said. “I also like how fluid it is and how there’s not necessarily any set plays or anything like that. You can use your creativity and your imagination to kind of figure out what your team is going to do next.”
Gerke said she plans to study engineering or psychology. On the pitch, she’ll try to help the Pirates earn their first conference title since 2016.
“Ever since freshman year, I’ve always really wanted to play in college, but I was never sure if I was going to get the opportunity,” Gerke said. “Being offered the opportunity to continue my soccer career at the college level is a dream come true.”