Kayla Anderson is arguably one of the greatest Strikers of this decade in High School girl’s soccer. In The Last 5 Years, she may even be the very best of what Minnesota has had to offer. She may not have had the career numbers of Liz Wharton, the talent of Maya Hansen, the goal-scoring ability of Sophie Babo, or the natural Talent of Paige Pelletier. Kayla never put up the biggest numbers but didn’t have the easiest road either her journey to the very top of girls’ soccer was surrounded by disappointment, adversity, emotional and psychological agony through the disappointment she has dealt with throughout her career. Kayla Anderson’s road to the top of high school soccer was through dark clouds not sunshine. She didn’t necessarily have the most straightforward way about these things; she didn’t have the super talent of some of her counterparts; she does not always have the best team or the best coaching; she had to overthrow miles of adversity to get to the very top of the mountain. She may not have been crown by the state for these things, but she became one of the best ever to do it in girls soccer. Her 67 goals, 24 assists, and two-division crowns came with everything she had gone through to make for it to this point. She has risen from ruins to get to this level. She conquered everything that possibly stood in her way, from being cut from her club team to carrying White Bear Lake during her Junior and senior seasons doing everything in her power to take her team to the state tournament, ultimately falling short on every occasion. Her story isn’t scripted; it’s real based on experience and a fight and determination that she always carries with her. Everything that she has done in her career deserved to be glorified and immortalized by her school. As I have stated on previous occasions, I believe White Bear Lake should have retired the number 3 Jersey. What she was able to accomplish in her years at White Bear Lake is nothing short of instrumental genius. It’s not been just a number; it’s what she was as a player, a captain, a leader; she embodied White Bear Lake girls soccer. There will never be another like her that wears those colors that walk through those halls. She left a legacy there; it’s unclear where the road we’ll take her, but she left her mark. However, for whatever reason, tragedy and adversity seem to follow her wherever she goes. What ended up occurring what’s something incredibly challenging; it wasn’t just Kayla that had to deal with it; the entire world suffered, and it’s still suffering from a global pandemic. This was expected to be the year she breaks away from the legacy she built-in high school to try to build something similar at the college level. This year she never got that opportunity. It was a year filled with unrest times that left her and many others in great disappointment. There may have been more horrible things happening all over the world as covid-19 became reign supreme. The entirety of football had to deal with it as well. Serie A, the Bundesliga, La Liga, and the Premier League all had their Seasons postponed, and the European championships last summer was postponed. Eventually, the respective leagues resumed, but it had to be done without fans. Unfortunately, all the dreams and Ambitions of playing college soccer that Kayla had had her entire life weren’t able to come true, at least not yet. The South Dakota season never even kicked off ask Kayla had to deal with something that very few college students or college athletes ever have.
Covid-19 hit the world by storm as it continues to be an overwhelming issue even now, months after it initially hit the United States. Kayla’s entire life, she dreamt of one thing getting the opportunity to play college soccer, improving herself on that stage. Kayla has ambitions may not be aligned with what I think she can achieve. Early in the process, I asked her about her aim of what she will do 10 years from now or what she wants to do. College soccer has been the dream for her; it wasn’t playing for the United States more challenging herself in Europe that’s too far ahead for her even to comprehend she achieved what she was after at least so far. She signed that letter of intent what’s South Dakota State University. They was real optimism and excitement surrounding what she could potentially do this season. She wasn’t going to be alone; she would be joined by Catherine Jones, a freshman with Incredible credentials, and resume a superstar in Minnesota high school girls soccer, a friend of hers, Maya Hansen. One of the most impeccable and talented players in the history of High School girl’s soccer. There was so much to be excited about, but unfortunately, there was a different plan in place. Covid made things really difficult not only for Kayla and South Dakota state but so many universities throughout the world. Kayla became something very few people can relate to. In the history of this world, there have been several pandemics, but this was the first one in her lifetime and my life. She is one of the few College athletes who have gone through this. I’m sure they were people out there that decided not to go to college last year and instead took off a year. Kayla experienced college soccer in a year of a pandemic. Something very few people will be able to relate to. Some conferences still had a season; however, South Dakota state did not participate. Her dream was going to be put on hold. In a certain way, it is like a lost year because even though they were able to practice a couple of times, they did not have a good season in the slightest. The college soccer experience is something different, and next season it will somewhat feel like starting from scratch. She will technically be a sophomore next season, but she still has an extra year of Eligibility. Getting an opportunity to play that additional year if she chooses to, but it will be a different kind of feeling it just because it’s going to be all brand new. It will feel like an actual college season, and she will feel like a college student. Everything has been done over Zoom, and in all likelihood, they will go to the classroom next year, but you never know. There will be a season along with practices in a real experience of college sport. Things were already challenging for a new freshman coming into a season during a pandemic. A lot of quarantine had to be done. Kayla was lucky in some respect because five of the seven freshmen this season contracted the virus. As far as I know, they were able to deal with the situation and so forth. It’s still a scary thing to go through.
Kayla Anderson claims there are negatives and positives to having to go through these types of situations. It was difficult being away from the team and not being able to build that camaraderie that perhaps they would have had things happen differently. On the other side of things, she kept her eye on her old stomping ground and watched several White Bear Lake’s games this season. Getting to see her pal Lauren Eckerle take over as the leader must have been a surreal moment. She got to keep up with their season, but at the same time meanwhile, her season never got off the ground; it never took off as much as she had that desire to go out there and play at the college level. According to Kayla, being a college student during the virus supplied its own set of challenges. It made it more challenging to work out both physically and mentally; the girls had to be creative in keeping themselves in Tip-Top shape in a year of a pandemic. Kayla ended up finding a way to power through these things as she always has. Adversity is no stranger to Kayla’s Journey. To the young freshman, it was just a stepping stone to bigger and better things, just something they had to do during the pandemic to keep themselves safe and prepare themselves for the next level. She explains that the hardest working girls will always find a way even during undesirable circumstances. Kayla certainly tried to make the best of a situation, even if it was a challenge regularly. She certainly has enjoyed aspects of it and was able to keep themselves busy she was allowed to train in small groups that she trains with when she’s home. However, certain things have been a daily frustration for Kayla, who is really excited about the things that lie ahead. She became very affectionate towards her new team and some of the people she has met, even if it was under troublesome circumstances. She’s looking forward to putting her boots on, putting that South Dakota state Jersey over her head, and go into battle just like she did at White Bear Lake the number 3 Jersey as I have stated on multiple occasions, means much more and just a great player at White Bear Lake it is their leader someone who did things the right way the legacy she made at White Bear Lake means nothing at South Dakota State. She’s on a different team wearing a different number. History would make you believe that the number 13 Jersey can become in college what number three did in high school. I can’t do it for her; it’s up to her to create her own legacy and path. The state that we have been in will only push Kayla to an unexplainable level she has something profound inside of her that allows her to battle and fight for every inch. She is a 19-year-old young woman that is filled with adversity but equally knows how to overcome it. She just can’t wait to play. Understands and recognizes that this season was not ideal; her dream wasn’t able to be achieved yet; once she stepped on the field, she will know that she is made it, but that’s only the beginning of the story. Once that day comes, she will start to write her own legacy at South Dakota State. Kayla Anderson joined a good friend at South Dakota State, Maya Hansen, and now her closest friend Lauren Ekerle will be joining Kayla in a year from now. In 2022 Lauren and Kayla will be together once again. She looks forward to that future and what they can accomplish together, even if it’s on a different platform and stage than when they wrecked girls soccer together in high school. She doesn’t want to look too far into the future, but it is something she’s really excited about. The bottom line is that she just can’t wait to play; even if the conditions were less than ideal when her moment comes, she’ll be ready for. Kayla Anderson has gone through so much adversity in her life on and off the pitch in a weird way this is what makes her great I don’t believe she has the same career if adversity isn’t sitting on her shoulder. Kayla Anderson, I asked Kayla about what her advice would be to a younger kid trying to fight through adversity. Her response wasn’t anything less than I would have expected from someone who has been through it all. ” advice I would give to a younger kid about adversity is to embrace it; it’s a great opportunity if you take it to make you stronger everyone goes through adversity it’s how you respond to it that makes it worth it and makes you great.”
“I’ve known Kayla for about two years now and if there’s anything I learned from being given the opportunity to work with this amazing young women is she’s a leader not because of how good she is; she’s a leader because of the examples she sets for others I would run through a wall for her she just has an infectious aspect about her the possibilities to influence those around her having gone through covid-19, and a canceled season is only going to fuel that fire into something even more remarkable.” –
- Eliot Ben-Ner (ME), Writer of the Kayla Anderson Story Risen from Ruins coming in 2021
Pictures By: Karen McCullough