Leading by example: Barnard-Pratt commits to Alfred


Provided by Kiani Barnard-Pratt

Senior Kiani Barnard-Pratt, a sophomore when this photo was taken, springs into action to make a save.

Kristen Su, Co-Managing-Editor

Described by her soccer coaches and teammates as a player who leads with quiet tenacity, senior Kiani Barnard-Pratt lets her actions speak for themselves. Eyeing the ball with deadly precision and intense determination, she dives for every attempt at goal without fail.

Now, Barnard-Pratt will be making a dive for college soccer. After four years of making her mark on the WA Girls’ Soccer team, Barnard-Pratt has verbally committed to Alfred University to continue her career at the D3 level.

Barnard-Pratt started playing in first grade. Following a failed save that caused her to tumble into the net, she began her journey to becoming a star goalie. 

“It was a lot of fun [the first scrimmage]. I actually didn’t like soccer that much when I was younger, but then it turned out to be my favorite sport once I started doing keeper,” Barnard-Pratt said.

Barnard-Pratt initially made the varsity team freshman year, standing in as the backup goalie. However, it wasn’t until sophomore year that she was truly put to the test — as the new starting goalie, she was one of the only underclassmen on a team of mostly juniors and seniors. 

“I feel like it [my sophomore year] was my best year out of all of them because I really wanted to do well, and I worked super hard, […] trying to impress everybody and live up to what they wanted me to do,” Barnard-Pratt said. 

Her efforts paid off, earning her the title of DCL First-Team All-Star her sophomore year and every year for the rest of her high school career. She also earned the title of Eastern Massachusetts Second-Team All-Star during her junior year.

Since then, she has developed bonds with her fellow WAGS teammates and proved herself as a worthy leader on the field. Although she admits to not being as verbally aggressive as other goalies, she makes her presence known by commanding respect. 

“I don’t really like to be this center of attention on the field or in general in life with leadership. I like to lead by example; lead from the background,” Barnard-Pratt said.

WAGS Coach Katie Andjus has seen first-hand the impact Barnard-Pratt has on team morale.

“She’s a quiet [physical] presence, but she’s a loud presence when it comes to how she performs and how she works. I think everybody looks up to her kind of silent leadership knowing like, ‘Oh, did you just see that save she just made? Time for me to work a little harder,’” Andjus said. 

Her successful leadership and undeniable skill prove themselves through her performance on the field. In particular, fellow WAGS teammate and senior captain Carly Davey recounts the moment when Barnard-Pratt impressed the crowd during a recent game. 

“She made this unbelievable save and the whole crowd went insane. I was standing by the referee and [the] outside back of the other team closer to mid-field when it happened, and they both were asking me if she makes saves like that all the time because they were so surprised she made it. The referee said it was one of the best saves he’s ever seen a goalie make at any level,” Davey said. 

Her continued success on the field was also what led her to develop an interest in being recruited.

“I saw [other teammates getting recruited] and I wanted to keep going especially since my coaches were telling me that I could because they saw what I’d been doing at practice,” Barnard-Pratt said. 

The pandemic made it difficult for Barnard-Pratt to find a suitable school. Because most universities only need one goalie for their soccer team and many players were redshirted due to the lack of a 2020 season, she was often at the mercy of coaches via email communication. 

Academics also played a huge role in Barnard-Pratt’s decision. While she originally dreamed of playing D1 soccer at a big school, she ultimately wanted to balance her passion on the field with her passion in the field of biomedical engineering. 

Alfred proved to be the perfect match. Barnard-Pratt fell in love with the non-urban environment during a campus tour, speaking fondly of her interactions with the coaches and one of the professors. 

“The coaches were really super nice and down to earth. They made me feel welcome right away. […] We also ran into one of the [glass engineering] professors and he was so passionate about everything. […] I think they just sold me on everything,” Barnard-Pratt said.

Barnard-Pratt has big goals for both her soccer and academic careers. She wants to make the NCAA Championships, specifically the Final Four. On the flip side, she also wants to pursue a path in prosthetics and hopes that she can start making her own designs in college.

“My dream job would probably be at the Boston Children’s Hospital,” Barnard-Pratt said. 

Barnard-Pratt, proudly donning the number zero on her jersey, has proved herself through her work ethic and will continue to do so at Alfred. 

“Zero is kind of a funny number. It’s like an unexpected number. People don’t really expect much from the number zero, but then, it’s kind of fun to show them what you can do,” Barnard-Pratt said.