By Jagada Chambers
Staff Reporter, Manteca Bulletin
Coming into East Union there was a goal.
Nothing selfish pertaining to goal scoring, nothing far-fetched like four section titles, nor anything primarily focused on any postseason accolades.
When Kianna Lamont began her era as an East Union Lancer she simply wanted to go to college. That dream became reality Wednesday as she signed her National Letter of Intent to attend and play soccer for the Cal State East Bay Pioneers in Hayward.
Lamont has committed to a program that is led by 12th-year head coach Amy Gerace and will compete at the NCAA’s Division-II ranks. Assistant coach Zlatan Sahmanovich made first contact with Lamont at a UC Santa Clara camp and forged a relationship.
“His coaching was just great,” Lamont recalls of Sahmanovich. “He helped anytime you needed help, he was insightful and it was really just an amazing experience. I went to a camp for players they were interested in and the head coach was also a great coach.
“I knew right away they would improve me as a player. I knew it was perfect.”
Lamont has been a key component of an unbelievable run for the Lancers soccer program, coming in and earning significant varsity playing time from her first year on the East Union campus. Standing out in the ultra-talented Valley Oak League has not been difficult for Lamont. Now she will try to make a positive impression on the pitch for coach Gerace.
“During my official visit and going around looking at the campus she was talking to me about how perfect my fit was for the college,” Lamont said. “We did lunch and dinner, I met the team it was a really good time. Everything was right, I felt really welcomed and I started looking forward to signing there.”
Cal State East Bay will be assisting Lamont, who plans on majoring in business with a minor in art, with a lucrative scholarship, making the experience that more gratifying for the two-sport athlete. Before Lamont can help the Pioneers in California Collegiate Athletic Association play, she will have business to attend to at East Union.
“I feel like this makes it more fun,” Lamont said of signing before her senior season. “It makes me want to prove to everyone that I deserve my scholarship and I deserve to go to college to play soccer.
“I don’t feel like it will be more pressure, but pressure is always good.”
Kianna’s twin sister and fellow standout Kayla is undecided on her collegiate future, but has been accepted to Cal State East Bay if the situation arises. For now, Kianna is fulfilling a dream that she has held closely. A dream that she has done everything in her power to make a reality.
“College has always been a major priority in my life,” Kianna said. “I’m the first one to go from our family and it is always something that I’ve been excited to do. I feel like it’s an accomplishment that my whole family is really proud of me for.
“It’s always great to be a good impact on my family; their support helps a lot.”