Scottie O'Bryan and Spencer Schultz
Based on the soft spoken personality of Jamesville-DeWitt High School senior Caroline Kopp, her tenacity on the soccer field may come as a surprise. Despite this, the soccer star is making headlines across New York State, and the country. Kopp received many awards both locally and throughout the region for her outstanding athleticism in her final high school soccer season. Her most prominent award is making the 2014 First Team All-East Region soccer squad formed by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, a group of regional high-school soccer coaches that vote on the top players of the area. The achievement is just below that of All-American recognition.
For the four seasons Kopp has been on varsity, her “quiet leadership” has brought the team to four straight sectional titles, and two state semifinals, says Head Coach Hayley Nies of the Varsity Girls soccer team. Kopp also led the team to the state championship in 2012, where the J-D girls came up just short. “She is more of a silent leader who leads by example,” says Coach Nies.
“Caroline always does the right thing. At the end of every practice, she would be the last player to leave, whether it be helping put away equipment or just playing with the ball,” adds sophomore teammate Alex Catanzarite.
Kopp’s focus during practice carries on in her many games. It’s hard enough to be the third leading scorer and rank second in assists in such a competitive J-D squad, but for Kopp, doing this as a defensive player is even harder. “Caroline is really the whole player. She knows when to sneak up and take shots, but she plays on defense,” says Coach Nies.
Although Kopp scored goals, Catanzaritie says Kopp is "definitely more of a play-maker." "Finding the midfielders' and forwards’ feet is effortless for her and she can find a way to dribble 60 yards up the field without anyone being able to stop her,” says Catanzarite.
Kopp’s determination during practice isn’t the only thing that has helped her get to where she is in her soccer career. “My family has influenced me tremendously in my soccer career. They encourage me to push beyond my limits and do the best I can,” says Kopp. “I’ve also worked really hard at it, and I have put a lot of time into soccer, playing club year round for Syracuse Development Academy and traveling different places to improve,” says Kopp.
Despite all of Kopp’s hard work, she still attributes her success and awards to her J-D teammates. “I think my team helped me a lot. They were able to motivate me and I credit the team for accomplishing our goals,” says Kopp.
Kopp’s departure from J-D and her team after this year is a bittersweet one. “It was really sad to think this year was my last season, but it was such a memorable one, with making it to states this year,” says Kopp.
Her soccer legacy doesn’t end at J-D, however, as Kopp plans on continuing her career into college. She’s applied to Division I schools Syracuse, Cornell, and Colgate, as well as Division II Le Moyne, and Division III Hobart and William Smith, all of which are top college programs. Kopp also applied to other smaller schools, but she is still unsure of where she would like to go.
Although Kopp is excited to carry on soccer into college, her education is the top priority. “My education is what will help me get further in life than sports,” says Kopp. Kopp hopes to major in the science field at the school of her choice. "Science has always interested me, and it's good that there are a lot of job opportunities in the sciences," says Kopp.
"I thought Caroline excelled in Biology and she is currently taking one of my science electives, Forensics. She always seemed to have an interest in the topics we discussed in class," says Kopp's science teacher Nancy Raicht. "Caroline is the type of student that always puts her best foot forward, through everything she does," says Mrs. Raicht.
With all of Kopp’s accomplishments, she shouldn’t worry too much about playing soccer into college. “Caroline could play any sport that she wanted and be great at it,” says senior teammate Kallen Prosak. “Back in the day, when we all played soccer for Eastside, Carol was always the best player,” says Prosak. Kopp, who also plays lacrosse in the spring, feels that this sport “improves her game awareness” in soccer. “Even if the world were on fire, it wouldn’t stop Caroline from feeding her craving to compete,” says Catanzarite.
Here’s a list of the other accolades Kopp has earned this year:
2014 OHSL Player of the Year
2014 Section III Class A All-Star
2014 All-CNY Player of the Year
2014 First Team All-League
2014 First Team All-State