Kennedy’s soccer journey began at the age of four in the spring of 2009 with Little Kickers, now known as Sprouts. She started playing in the Rec program, where she played on several teams, including coed teams, Starburst, and the Tornadoes coached by Tim Noriega and Eric Van Riper. She played on the Tornadoes team for several seasons before being asked to guest play on a pre-academy team. The following season, she moved full-time to Academy and played for two different coaches, Coach Elle and Coach Xavier (assistant coach Don Deaton).
After that, she joined an Athena team coached by Sam Clark for a few seasons before moving to the Elite National League team coached by Rob Roddie. It took her two years of tryouts before she made the team, and her hard work paid off when she finally achieved her goal. She trained on the side, practiced a lot, and reached the Elite level.
Kennedy’s journey wasn’t without its challenges. She faced disappointment and felt defeated when she didn’t make the team she wanted to make. It was a difficult time for her, and she almost gave up on soccer. As parents, we taught her to work harder and leave it all on the field, and we watched her grow from those tough experiences.
One of the most significant benefits of Kennedy’s journey was the coach-player relationship she developed with Coach Sam. Sam was sarcastic with Kennedy, which is our family’s love language, and she responded well to her coaching style. Kennedy learned to work harder and push herself, and her improvement over the years was remarkable.
The pillar of Kennedy's journey was the influence Coach Rob had in her development On-and-Off-the field. From Kennedy: "Coach Rob has really built up my confidence on the field and he helped me become the person & player I am today. I’ve had a lot of coaches build me up to get to the level I’m currently at, but the biggest influence has definitely been Coach Rob". Coach Rob helped Kennedy understand that at times it is perfectly fine to take a step back to keep moving forward.
Some of the high points of Kennedy’s soccer journey include making the Elite National League team, traveling to Scotland with her team to train with Rangers FC, and receiving college offers from multiple universities. We’re excited to see her attend Reinhardt University and continue playing soccer at the next level.
From Kennedy's parents: "Our advice to parents and players is to never give up. If your child is asked to play up, let them. Playing with older kids can be scary for parents, but it benefits the player immensely. It makes the player’s speed of play faster, improves their ability to read the field, and exposes them to a higher level of play. Let your children’s coach coach them and work out any issues with the coach by themselves. They can handle more than you realize, and allowing them to grow and develop independently will benefit them in the long run".
In conclusion, Kennedy’s soccer journey was filled with highs and lows, but she persevered and worked hard to achieve her goals. Her journey is a testament to the value of hard work, perseverance, and dedication. We’re proud of her accomplishments and excited to see what the future holds for her on and off the field.