Whether it’s professional or collegiate sports, athletes will sometimes take the path of less resistance to achieve success. For the University of Pittsburgh’s Amanda West, she preferred to take the road less traveled to make a difference for a school without a history of success on the soccer pitch.
“When I was being recruited by Pitt, I was inspired by what the coaches were doing here,” West told BGN. “For me, there is nothing more exciting than to be a part of a team like Pitt. We have truly come so far in such a short amount of time, and I love watching this team improve every day right in front of my eyes.”
Prior to 2020, Pitt only had two winning seasons in program history and carried a winning percentage of .341%. This season, behind West’s NCAA-leading 12 goals, the Panthers are off to a 9-3 start.
In less than two full seasons, West has already set a new school record for career points and single-season points. “This is a huge honour, and I am very excited to achieve it,” she said. “I did not come to Pitt though looking to break individual records, I just wanted to win and see this team compete for championships.”
She also acknowledges that she couldn’t break the record without a lot of help from her Pitt teammates. West said, “I give all the credit to my teammates who are getting me the ball in the right places and creating opportunities for me in front of goal.”
Did West expect to have such a massive impact early in her college career? She answered, “I was so excited to finally play collegiate soccer in the ACC that I didn’t really have time to be nervous. I wasn’t thinking about what individual impact I might have on the team, I just wanted to play the game that I love, with the people that I love, at the highest level.”
.@amanda_westt with the insurance goal!
Pitt 2 | Miami 0
— Pitt Women's Soccer (@Pitt_WSOC) October 18, 2020
With multiple seasons still ahead of her in Pittsburgh, it would be hard to argue that Amanda West will not leave the school as the greatest women’s soccer player in school history. “It would be extremely special of course to be considered one of the greats to go through this program, but I would not be satisfied leaving Pitt without one day holding a trophy over our heads — that’s the ultimate goal,” she said.
A new challenge for West could be on the international stage. Born in Sweden but raised in Canada, she actually has the ability to represent either country’s national team. “I do have dual citizenship in both Sweden and Canada, so I could play for either,” she explained. “I have never really thought about representing either country internationally, but that would be an amazing opportunity.”
“Fingers crossed, maybe one day! I have a lot of areas to improve on first.”
Amanda would be following in her dad’s footsteps if she’s able to play in different countries around the world. Her father, Marc West, was drafted by the NHL’s Boston Bruins and went on to play in leagues across the globe. “I think it’s very cool that my dad played professional hockey,” Amanda said. “He has a lot of experience in sports and has played all over the map, so he is always my go-to whenever I need soccer advice.”
“Growing up, he has always been a huge inspiration for me with soccer. He has not only taught me so much about sports, but also about the important things in life.”
With a major hockey influence in the house, the Pitt Panthers aren’t the only team in the Steel City that the West family supports. “I come from a big hockey family, and my dad and brother are Pens (Pittsburgh Penguins) fans,” Amanda said. The West family dog is actually named after Penguins star Evgeni Malkin, which she said her family came up with. She added, “My choice to come to Pitt was not influenced by the Penguins and Malkin, but I do think it’s a funny coincidence.”
Like Malkin, the three-time Stanley Cup champion, Amanda West will look to bring some trophies to Pittsburgh as the Panthers play #3 Clemson and Wake Forest before heading into the ACC Tournament.