Moscow’s Jakich-Kunze to pioneer new college program

Moscow girls’ soccer player Ava Jakich-Kunze (center) smiles after signing a letter of intent to play collegiately at Bluefield State. With her are her father, Robert Kunze, and mother, Charlene Jakich-Kunze.

Moscow High School senior Ava Jakich-Kunze enjoys leadership roles.

The center midfielder netted a program-record 14 goals in one season and 33 during a four-year career for the Bear girls’ soccer team.

Now, she has become the first-ever official commit to play women’s soccer for Bluefield State College in West Virginia. Jakich-Kunze signed a letter of intent on Feb. 25 to join the Big Blues in the fall.

“I like the idea of being a part of a new program,” she said. “I like being a leader or a building block to a program.”

Jakich-Kunze got her start in soccer after her parents entered her in the Moscow Parks & Recreation program when she was around kindergarten age.

“They just kind of wanted to put me into a sport, and a lot of my friends were doing it, a lot of people in my school,” she said. “They just kind of thought, like, ‘Why not?’ ”

She enjoyed the physical and mental elements of the game, and found it grew more strategically engaging as she progressed to higher competitive levels.

“I do like that to be good at the game, you do have to have knowledge of it as well,” Jakich-Kunze said.

In her time on the high school team, Jakich-Kunze felt the Bears had a positive program in which she could “go to practice every day and feel supported and invited,” and which helped her grow not only as a player, but “as an individual.” In a senior season that almost did not happen at all amid coronavirus concerns, she helped lead Moscow to its first Idaho Class 4A district title and state tournament berth since 2013.

“I think her leadership ability is going to be a great attribute for that school,” Josh Davis, who coached Moscow for the past two seasons before moving on to a job at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, said of Jakich-Kunze. “I’m excited for the program — excited for her, to see what she’s going to do as well. ... I know she’s worked very hard for this opportunity, and I think she’s going to do great things for that program.”

At Bluefield State, Jakich-Kunze intends to major in applied science with a pre-med concentration as preparation for a career as a physical therapist. In addition to having the chance to pioneer a new sports program at the Division II school, she is pleased to attend college in a smaller community resembling the one she grew up in.

“It’s also really, really pretty over in West Virginia,” she said. “It’s beautiful.”

Cody Wendt may be reached at cwendt@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2268.

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