Bouncing right back

Q&A Kim McKinney, C. Milton Wright, soccer

December 02, 2007|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special to the Sun

Senior Kim McKinney of C. Milton Wright played junior varsity soccer for two years before being cut in the fall of 2006 when going out for the varsity.

McKinney was disappointed but kept working on her game and gave it another shot this season. McKinney not only made the team, but she also earned a starting spot and played a key role on a team that surprised many by reaching the Class 4A state title game.

McKinney said she learned valuable lessons from the experience, and coach Paul Austin said he was delighted with how she rebounded and became a big part of this year's team.

Were you surprised when you were cut from the varsity soccer team last year?

I was surprised. After being pulled up, it was really shocking. It didn't hit me until I got to the car after talking to the coach, and after that I was really shocked.

How long did it take you to get over the disappointment from that?

That night, I was really upset. I didn't talk to anybody. My mom tried to comfort me and stuff like that, but I just wanted to be alone. It was a hard thing to try and face because soccer had been my life since I was 4 or 5. One of my friends I played soccer with came to my house with cross-country papers and got me started with that.

Did you like cross country when you ran it last year?

I liked it, but I wasn't in love with it. Cross country was fun, and I enjoyed it, but soccer was what I loved. I won the UCBAC [Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference] divisionals for our B team, but I really missed soccer. I didn't go to any of their games because it would have been too hard for me.

What made you decide to go out for the varsity soccer team again this year?

My club coach, Doug Williamson, with the Greater Harford Lightning, he worked with me a lot. He told me there was nothing I did wrong. He just lifted my spirits a lot. We got together once or twice a week throughout the offseason. He trained me and worked on my weaknesses. [Coach Austin] told me I didn't have the smartest decisions with the ball, and I wasn't fast enough distributing it. That's what I worked on with Doug. I wasn't sure if I wanted to do cross country. I knew deep down that I wanted to do soccer, but it was hard knowing that I could face the same thing I faced last year.

What happened during the tryouts this season?

During tryouts, I thought I played well, but I was still always nervous after I left the field wondering if I had done well enough. Saturday was the day of cuts, and I brought my cross country shoes because the last soccer tryout was 7 to 9 a.m., and cross country was at 9, and I wanted to be prepared. As I was walking over, Coach Austin and Brent Ritz called me over, and I was the most nervous I've ever been in my life. Coach told me, first off, "I just want to let you know you have a spot on the team," and that I'd improved dramatically and they looked forward to having me on the team. I was excited. I was shocked. It was a lot of emotions at once. It was relief, excitement, so many things.

How hard was it to play for the coach who cut you the previous year?

The first time I saw Coach after being cut, it was hard for me to not have a negative feeling towards Coach. I saw him one day at school before the end of last school year, and he was wondering if I was coming out and said he would really enjoy it if I came back out. At that point, I wasn't sure if I was coming out, and he said he'd really like it if I did. We both then agreed that we'd make this year a clean slate. There wasn't a negative feeling anymore.

How surprised were you to get a starting spot all season?

The first game, we played at the Notre Dame Prep play day, [and] when he announced me as starting, I was shocked. I just expected to sit on the bench the whole year. I had an ankle injury right [before that], and I worked really hard to get back from that. Coach told me that I worked really hard to recover, and for that I deserved a starting position.

What kind of music is in your iPod?

I have everything in my iPod from rap to Christian to pop. Everything is in there. Actually we have a pump-up CD with songs like "Heart of a Champion."

What are you looking at studying in college?

I want to do pre-med or nursing or psychology. I know I want to go into some kind of medical field. I was thinking of physical therapy, but now I'm thinking of nursing for mission work overseas. I love working with kids, so it would probably be something in the pediatric field.

If you could meet one person in the world and talk for a half-hour, whom would you pick?

I would probably say Michael Jordan because he got cut from his high school basketball team, and he became one of the greatest players of all time.

What will be your greatest soccer memory from C.M. Wright?

Probably playing in the state final game this year. I got to play with my sister, which is a great honor. It brought us a lot closer. Just being able to play with her on the field was a great memory. That title game was great. Everybody gave it everything they had, and we didn't like how it ended [Quince Orchard won, 1-0, on penalty kicks], but we left it all out there on the field. We were the underdogs all season. Nobody expected us to make it past the first regional. We made it way past that. We had an end-of-year banquet, and in front of everyone, Coach told everyone that he had to deal with his decision [to cut me] for the last 365 days. It just helped to know that I wasn't the only one who had to deal with it for 365 days. It was on his mind, too.

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