This January, the United Soccer Coaches (USC), a country-wide organization dedicated to helping and honoring coaches and players, officially named Girls’ Varsity Soccer (GVS) Co-Captain Kayla Duran ’18 an All-American player for her athletic skills, her sportsmanship, and her academic commitment, the USC website said.
Throughout Kayla’s soccer career, which she said has lasted for as long as she can remember, she has played midfield and forward for the FC Stars of Massachusetts, GVS, and the U-17 U.S. National Team.
This year Kayla was one of 127 high school students and over 1,000 college students to receive the All-American designation, which GVS Head Coach Graeme Blackman nominated her for in 2017.
“On the field, Kayla Duran is easily one of the most talented players that I have ever had the privilege of coaching,” Coach Blackman said. “Kayla always puts the team before herself and never gives up on a teammate or a game. I never need to motivate her because her drive to be excellent comes from within.”
Kayla learned she had been named an All-American at the Fall Sports Assembly in November. She said she wasn’t expecting the designation because she didn’t know many private school students who had received it in the past.
“It’s been my goal since the end of junior year and the start of senior year to get All-American. I knew it was really hard to get, but [GVS] did really well, and that’s what really helped me,” she said. “But I tried not to focus on it a lot during the season because obviously the team came first, and I wanted the team to have more success than me.”
Kayla and the other All-Americans received their medals and certificates at the National Soccer Coaches of America convention in Philadelphia on January 20.
“The event was super cool, and there were over 1,400 people there,” she said. “There were people from all over the country.”
Mila Camargo Cortes ’18, who has played with Kayla for four years, said she was happy for her friend.
“Everyone was thrilled to hear about Kayla’s recognition as an All-American player. [It was] an award well-deserved,” she said. “We’re excited to see her continue to excel for years to come.”
Kayla will attend Boston College next year, where she will play for the women’s soccer team. She said she also hopes to return to the national team and play professionally for a year or two after college.
Even though she likes the sport itself, Kayla said the best part of the game was her teammates.
“I love that it’s a team sport,” Kayla said. “I like working with 10 other players on the field to reach one goal. To me it’s more rewarding when you work as a team to reach a goal you have set together.”