Talk about making a grand return to the soccer pitch.
After tearing the meniscus in her right knee and missing league play for her Greater Seattle Surf club squad, Kelsy Berge kicked back on board over the summer. She first helped her team make waves in Las Vegas in a high-caliber league and then cranked things up even greater in the prestigious San Diego Surf Cup.
In San Diego, the Inglemoor High senior tallied a penalty kick in her team’s championship-game victory to win the U18 title. The Surf won all five of its games in the tourney and Berge scored a pair of goals.
“It was a huge deal,” said Berge, whose Surf squad is currently ranked first in Washington state and eighth in the nation in its age group (they missed making nationals by one point in the standings in Vegas). “Coming off of winning that (San Diego) tournament and the whole experience, I just look at the level of play from that tournament and I try to bring that level of play to high school.”
It’s all about unleashing high intensity on the pitch and making an impact, she said.
Last year, the forward/attacking midfielder scored three goals for Inglemoor and earned 4A KingCo second-team status. She was a league honorable mention as a sophomore when her team made it to state.
At press time, the Vikings got off to a rough start with a pair of losses, but Berge said the squad has shown improvement and needs to push itself every game.
“I just try to be the best leader I can be,” said Berge, who was in the Elite Player Development pool for her age group last year. “I just try to make plays off the ball every time I get it and involve everybody. Try to pump everybody up, always. Even if something happens in the game that brings everyone down, just keep going and try and be a leader on and off the field.”
The captain — along with seniors Kylie Russell and Maria Matlick — said she models her leadership role after former Viking Alicia Barker, who was a senior captain and solid leader when Berge was a sophomore. Barker now plays ball at the University of Illinois.
Inglemoor coach Kent Nelke said Berge shines in the technical and tactical aspects of the game, and that’s not all. “Kelsy’s a fantastic leader. She’s always 100 percent effort, the girls look up to her, she’s always positive,” he added.
Berge began playing soccer at age 5, and when she hit seventh grade at Northshore Junior High, her passion for the sport kicked into gear.
“I just stuck with it. And every year, I’ve just gotten more and more competitive in the tournaments I’m playing in and everything,” she said, noting that her Northshore Junior High coach M’ily Reiter gave her a boost of confidence in what she could accomplish on the pitch. Surf coach Scott Newman has done the same, she said.
Added Berge, who off the field enjoys her AP English class and is fascinated by what she’s learning in her Lifespan psychology course: “You always have to push 110 percent because you’ll get the better outcome, and you have to impact the people around you.”
Other Inglemoor players to watch
Seniors Kylie Russell (defense), Maria Matlick (defense) and Sadie Sheller (midfield); junior Nicole VanEngelen (defense); sophomores Rachel Conchi (defense) and Teonni Gonzales (goalkeeper); and freshmen Joie Christensen (forward), Julianna Barker (defense) and Eden Iyall (goalkeeper).
2017 PREP GIRLS SOCCER CAPSULES
At press time, the Cougars had a 4-0 win over Mount Si and a 0-0 draw with Eastlake.
Players to watch are senior goalkeeper Emily Heffernan; junior Estera Levinte, who, according to coach Shaun Warner, has incredible speed and foot skill and is a very tough player to mark; junior Kaitlin Bean, who is the team’s leading goal scorer from last year and Warner said she has the ability to shoot with both feet and from distance; the backline of seniors Mallory Harder, Bella Murray, Emily Gibson and Sydney Nolan, which is a speedy group.
“There is lots of optimism going into this season with really good young players and eight seniors who do an excellent job of leading. The team plays like a family, competes with lots of desire and plays disciplined organized soccer,” Warner said.
Players to watch for the first-year Jaguar team are quality junior midfielders Katie Christensen, Annika Beck and Audrey Tacey and forward Taylor Bone; sophomore midfielder/defender Maddy Chriest; sophomores Lauren Grout, Annie Carrol and Anna Ogurkow in the midfield and attacking positions; junior Kaylee Nyswonger and freshman Charlotte Hill on the back line, and sophomores Kailin Gaiser and Zoe Kartes as outside backs.
Beck scored the school’s first goal against Eastlake.
“This young group is already competitive and it is so early. There is something very special about this team. They play every second as a team and never quit working,” said coach Shawn Tacey.
Cedar Park Christian
Players to watch are senior Grace Hopf, a forward and leading scorer last year; senior Kirstin Nutley, the team’s second highest scorer from last year; sophomore Hayley Devine, a controlling center midfielder; freshman forward Abby Perrigoue, who is doing some amazing things, according to coach Lija Devine; and junior Sammy Schultz, a solid defender.