Distinguished women’s soccer player Katelyn Rogers reflects as her remarkable soccer career comes to a close
“Soccer has pretty much been my lifestyle growing up,” senior forward Katelyn Rogers said while talking about her athletic career. “I didn’t really know any different. It was always soccer, school, eat, sleep, repeat.”
The rigorous athletic lifestyle Rogers led growing up paid off big time for her in college when she joined APU’s women’s soccer team.
“Coming in as a freshman was really different. We actually won nationals my freshman year, but that was just the beginning. Since then, it’s been a long four years.” Rogers said.
In 2013, APU’s women’s soccer team won the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Women’s Soccer Division I National Championship. Rogers was ranked third on the team, with five goals and 11 points on the year. She also scored two game-winning goals that year.
Rogers continued to be a consistent player for the Cougars throughout the next two years. As a junior in 2015, she became a team leader with 11 goals scored on the year and a 45 percent shot on-goal rate. That same year, Rogers was named a first-team All-PacWest performer, meaning she was one of the top-ranked players in her division for the PacWest Conference. She was also recognized by PacWest as preseason Player of the Year for fall 2016.
Just when things looked like they were going strong, however, Rogers suffered a torn ACL and meniscus injury in the first preseason game of 2016
“I had to take a medical redshirt that season. I only played one game my entire senior year. I was even named preseason Player of the Year and I didn’t even get to prove it at all. I went back and forth a lot, debating whether I should end here or keep going.” Rogers said. “In the end, my family, friends and coach talked me into staying, and I’m glad I did. My teammates, too, have been very good at encouraging me to get back fitness-wise. It’s been a challenge, but I’m glad I have them with me.”
The strong sense of community among APU’s athletic teams was one of the reasons Rogers was drawn to the school in the first place.
“My high school club coach was coached by APU’s head coach, so back when APU was still in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA), our club team went out and practiced on this field and watched the Cougars practice. I loved it when I went. The team was so inviting and friendly, and the sense of community among the team stood out here more than any other school.” Rogers said.
Rogers also expressed how the women’s soccer team has become a close-knit family with each other.
“Over the past four years, I’ve gotten to know my teammates really well. We’ve definitely gone through our fair share of ups and downs, but we’ve been really well-connected and we’re always there for each other. My team always say that it’s a family environment, because we don’t always get along, but we know we always have each other to turn to, regardless. You have your little bickering, but you get over it. We work as a team, and we get things done, clearly.” Rogers said.
The soccer team certainly did get things done during the season Rogers sat out. Starting in fall 2016 and ending only last week on Oct. 19, the Cougars maintained an 18-game unbeaten streak in PacWest games.
Senior defender Hayley Patterson said she thinks that the streak says a lot about the team and their values.
“I think the 18-game unbeaten streak in PacWest games does not only speak to our talent as a team, but also who we are as people. My teammates were recruited for far more than just their athletic abilities; they were recruited for their work ethic, their personalities, their compassion, their morals and their faith. I think that is where our success comes from; having well-rounded people utilizing all the gifts God has given them in order to glorify Him with the game of soccer.” Patterson said.
That streak came to an end on Oct. 19, but it remains a remarkable accomplishment nonetheless.
Sophomore forward Emilie Allum spoke of how challenges this season brought the team together.
“This season has definitely exposed our weakness and strengths as a unit which has been a great way for our coaching staff to accommodate our style of play and ultimately push us to our fullest potential. Our team has gone through a handful of trials this season and it has been awesome to watch us tremendously grow on and off the field over such short span of time,” Allum said. “Our staff filled very big shoes, our captains stepped up and led, and our team fought to find success this season.”
Despite many obstacles this year, the Cougars have had a solid season so far, ranking fourth among PacWest schools. Despite losing most of their coaching staff before the start of this new season, the team has done a remarkable job of stepping up and into leadership roles.
“Losing most of our coaches was hard on our team, but I think it brought out a lot of character in my team, because we basically had to start over. We didn’t know if we would lose our starting spots, and we weren’t sure of anything. It created more competition, but it’s definitely made our team grow the closest it’s ever been.” Rogers said.
That competition only made the team stronger. Considering everything the team has gone through this year, Patterson credits the success of this year’s team to the great leadership they’ve had from each other.
“With the obstacles we have had to face over the course of this season, great leadership was vital. I think not only did our seniors and captains have to step it up a notch, but all the returning players as well. Our seniors, captains and other leaders played bigger roles than we have had in the past but I am pleased by the will and fight to overcome our circumstances.” Patterson said.
The women’s soccer team are currently 8-5-2 on the year, with only one regular season game left to play. The Cougars will travel to Utah to take on Dixie State on Nov. 4 to close out the regular season; APU is still in position, however, to make the NCAA Division II playoffs.