Jayco Rangers import Kayla Pedersen will play her final WNBL game this weekend after announcing her retirement.
The 29-year-old, who last season was crowned the WNBL’s Robyn Maher Defensive Player of the Year, is returning home to America to start the next chapter of her life after getting engaged to partner Nathan last month.
“It’s time for a new adventure. It was perfect timing this summer, I ended up buying a place in Arizona, met an amazing guy Nathan, he came over here and proposed, so we’re going to travel a bit, start a family and I feel like God is calling me to something else now,’’ she said.
“I have no clue how it (her final game) is going to feel. I just want to have fun with the girls because that’s what it’s all about and the relationships you’ve built.”
“Rachel (Jarry) was like “this week’s for Kayla” and I hate attention but it’s going to make it special. There’s going to be a lot of tears, a lot of thankfulness but it’s time, I’m ready.”
Pedersen first played for the Rangers in 2013-14 before competing in the WNBA and winning a championship in Italy. She returned for a second stint in season 2017-18.
She says Dandenong, and Australia, will always hold a special place in her heart.
“Being at Dandenong has been so special. The organisation has taken care of me, they care about the person too, to have that support has been amazing. And being in Melbourne and Australia, I love the culture, the breakfast and coffee is the best thing ever, having church friends and all that it was just kind of perfect that I had a life here as well, so that makes it even harder to say goodbye, but even more special.”
Pedersen says she’s glad the final game of the home-and-away season is at home so she can say goodbye to the Jayco Rangers fans.
“One of the best times has been getting to sign autographs after the game and talk to people. The fans never give up on us, I’ve always felt support from them, no criticism, nothing, over the years. It’s really great to have a home game, be on this court again to give my cheers to the fans.”
Come and thank and farewell Kayla as the Jayco Rangers host the Melbourne Boomers on Saturday afternoon at 6.30pm.
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