Kanyan Ward Was A College Soccer Player
Sam Merrill and his partner Kanyan Ward attended the Utah State Univerity and married in 2018.
Kanyan's High School Soccer Career
Kanyan studied Human Development and Family Studies in Utah. She studied there between the years 2016 and 2020. Ward was a four-year letter winner at her high school, Mountain Crest High School in Hyrum, Utah. There she was coached by Dennis Giles. As a senior, she was an all-state second-team honoree and earned all-area accolades in 2014 and 2015.
Ward also helped the Mustangs reach the regional championship in 2014. In 2015, they advanced to the semifinals of the state tournament. She played club soccer for La Roca for six seasons under Adolfo Ovalle. She helped her team reach three consecutive state runner-up finishes. Along with it, in 2015, after having claimed the US Soccer Region Championship, she helped her team make an appearance at the US National Tournament. Not only that, but impressively, she was also a four-time Olympic Development participant.
Kanyan's College Football Career
As a freshman in 2016, she played in 17 matches out of five that she started. On September 23, she made her first career start against Colorado State. Kanyan took seven shots, out of which one scored a goal. During the year, she had three assists, two against Sam Houston State on September 11.
In her Sophomore year in 2017, she played in 19 matches. Like in her freshman year, she also started five games in her sophomore year. And on September 17, 2017, she scored her first-ever career goal, which secured them a win at Oakland.
And during her sophomore year, she assisted only once, which was at Nevada on October 22, 2017. Out of 8 shots she took, four were on the goal. In a match against Cal State Fullerton on August 27, she for 66 minutes. All in all, her sophomore year proved well as she received the Scholar-Athlete Award.
Moreover, she was part of the Utah State University squad, which was successful in earning 15 straight NSCAA Team Academic Awards.
As a junior in 2018, she played 18 matches and started eight matches. On October 7, 2018, she scored her lone goal at the New Mexico. She attempted nine shots out of 4 and was on goal. Overall, she played a total of 1040 minutes. Her highest playtime of the season was 80 minutes on September 8, 2018, at Idaho State.
Ward earned academic all-MW honors and was named a Joe E. & Elma Whitesides Scholar.
During 2019, as a senior, she appeared in all 19 matches. This time around, she started 17 of the matches. She played a total of 1252 minutes. Her recorded season high was 95 minutes at UNLV on September 27.
Kanyan had two assists with 2 points recorded. She tallied both assists at Marquette on September 8.
Out of 20 shots, she scored 10 of them. Ward was again successful in being named academic all-Mountain West. She also earned the Wayne Estes Memorial Award, an award presented to the student-athlete who excels in leadership, scholarship, and citizenship. Like in her junior year, she was named a Joe E. & Elma Whitesides Scholar-Athlete.