Bryan women’s soccer player Kaitlyn Bryant signed by Charlotte Lady Eagles
Junior Kaitlyn Bryant in action for the Lady Lions. Over the summer she will play for USL W-League team Charlotte Lady Eagles / Triangle photo by Maddie Doucet
If you ask collegiate athletes about their dream, you are likely to hear them answer in chorus that they want to be a professional in their sport. At a small college like Bryan, which only steps foot on the national scene occasionally, it is rare that this dream becomes reality.
Junior midfielder Kaitlyn Bryant is an exception to that rule. Bryant is the first ever female Bryan soccer player to compete on a semi-professional level, as she earned a spot on the roster of the 2012 Charlotte Lady Eagles (N.C.) of the USL W-League.
“I want to be a professional player after college and I am excited to play at that level,” Bryant said. “It’s a dream come true.”
Charlotte is a strong contender in the W-League, North America’s second tier of Women’s soccer. The Lady Eagles have made the playoffs four consecutive seasons and finished their last season 6-2-2.
Eagles use soccer as platform for ministry
However, for the Eagles, there are more important things than results and titles. Operated and owned by Missionary Athletes International, they use the platform of soccer to perform sports ministry.
Players perform not only on the field, but also work in the community and go on overseas mission trips. In 2012, the Lady Eagles will travel to Medellin, Colombia for ten days.
I’m looking forward to being in a competitive but also Christian environment, and to learn from the older players and staff,” said Bryant. “I have heard so many great things about them. This is the kind of team I want to play for.”
Bryant has been a cornerstone for the Lady Lions the past three seasons. As a freshman she played in 18 games, scored three goals and had two assists. As a sophomore she was named to the All-Conference 3rd Team, and made the All-Conference 2nd Team her junior year.
Creative and skilled on the ball, Bryan predominantly played as playmaker and winger for the Lady Lions. During her junior year, where she played in 20 of 21 games, Head Coach Mark Suave also tested her in defense, where she provided strength and stability for Bryan’s back four.
Bryant convinced athletically and spiritually
In an open tryout in January, Bryant also played as center back and outside back. She convinced the coaching staff around Head Coach Lee Horton of her potential and was signed right before spring break.
“[Bryant] has shown us not only that her level of soccer is at a high standard, but that her character and walk with the Lord is an even higher priority,” said Jeremy Auyer, general manager for the Eagles, explaining what tipped the scales for the decision to sign Bryant.
“She will fit in extremely well with the rest of the girls on the team and we are hoping that she will bring leadership and add to the environment that we try and create here in Charlotte,” he said.
According to Auyer, the team is made up of players recruited from all over the nation. Bryant said that she was one of the very few players from an NAIA college at the tryout, while most players came from NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 institutions.
She will head to Charlotte right after the spring semester and live with a host family for the summer. The first game for the Lady Eagles will be Friday, May 11, facing the VSI Tampa Flames at Charlotte Christian Stadium.
The goals for the season are ambitious. Auyer said they “want to compete well, win all of their games and win a national championship.”
All that however is secondary behind a more important goal – “to train the ladies on what it means to be a sports ministry and to equip them to be prepared to share their faith through their gifts on the field,” he said.