Highland soccer player Smith off to Pikeville


After spending the last few fall seasons at the goalkeeper for the Highland girls’ soccer team, Kayley Smith will look to take on that responsibility for the University of Pikeville in Kentucky.

Smith,who plans to major in exercise physiology with the goal of being a physical therapist or athletic trainer, noted that Pikeville’s program in that major played a role in her decision, as did the location the university is in.

“I picked the University of Pikeville because the team was very accepting and they have the major I want to participate in and, also, the area was really nice,” she said. “It was just really beautiful. It was in the mountains and it was very pretty.”

All those factors made her decision a pretty straight-forward one.

“It was actually a really quick process because the coaches emailed me at the beginning of the month and I had committed by the end of the month, so it just shows how the community is down there,” she said.

Smith, who earned MOAC honorable mention last year after finishing third in the conference with 124 saves, has been involved in soccer for a long time.

“I’ve been involved for 10-plus years — pretty much the entire time I’ve been at Highland,” she said. “I’m starting to expand a little, playing for club team out of Mansfield. It’s been a while.”

And her time with the Scots has had its share of memorable moments, including being part of tournament wins both as a senior and sophomore — the first two postseason victories for the young Highland program.

“It’s definitely been tough at times, but I’m just glad I got to be part of the growth process and I’ll be able to come back and see how the program progresses in the future,” she said. “Just knowing I started from the bottom and to see where they’re at in the future.”

Smith, who has played in goal her entire soccer career, expects the game to be a bit more quick at the collegiate level.

“Just the quickening of tempo because in all sports, stuff can be slow, but I feel as you get higher up and in the college level, everything just speeds up and I’m ready for the challenge,” she said. “

In order to get on the field, Smith said that working to improve on the basics of the sport will be crucial.

“Probably just focusing on the little things,” she said. “The smaller techniques that people tend to overlook as they get older. Just focusing on the basics because that’s going to get me where I need to be.”

She added that she feels she’ll be able to help the team in other ways besides purely competing.

“I like to think I have a positive attitude, especially when it comes to being a teammate and I just hope to encourage everyone,” she said.

In moving on to college in another state, Smith said that she’ll miss her family and the experience of going to school every day at Highland, but added that she’s excited about her future.

“Just the new experience,” she said. “Finally having to be out on my own and stuff. I mean, it’ll be tough not having my parents with me, but just getting to be independent almost entirely.”

Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS

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