Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
Former Corinth Holders girls soccer defender Kaelin Sanderford says the best quality of her soccer skill set is her work ethic — which pushes her to attack the ball, even when many other players might give up on it.
“I really pride myself on how I’m super hard working and how I continue when people think the ball is going out,” Sanderford said.
With an opportunity to play in the 28th annual North Carolina Coaches Association East-West All-Star Game for girls soccer Tuesday, July 16, the Meredith College signee looks forward to pursuing one final high school experience with the same effort as always, despite not knowing she would be asked to play until recently.
“I’m very excited and I’m super honored to play in the all-star game,” Sanderford said.
Sanderford, who was a late addition to the East roster, was asked to join the team July 3 by her high school coach, Alison Vetterl, who will also be the East squad coach.
Without much hesitation, Sanderford jumped at the opportunity, taking the place of her Pirate teammate, Lindy Morgan, who was slated to play but could not make the game.
During her time at Corinth Holders, Sanderford said her favorite moment was making it to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A girls soccer state championship game her sophomore year.
This summer, she has been preparing for her first year at Meredith by keeping in soccer-playing shape, working on staff at the local YMCA and helping out with the Meredith soccer camp.
But among all those activities, she leapt at the opportunity to join the all-star roster, which will be played at 6:30 p.m. at McPherson Stadium in Bryan Park near Greensboro, because it would be one more chance to face top high school competition.
“It gives me another chance to show how good I am,” Sanderford explained. “And I’m really honored to be coached by her (Vetterl) one last time before I head to college life.”
When it came to adding one more player to the roster, Vetterl immediately knew it should be Sanderford, who had been a leader for the Pirate defense in recent years.
“With Kaelin, she was really a player I could count on defensively in many aspects of her game,” Vetterl said. “She’s vocal back there and really just took the lead in many ways. She saw it from a different perspective and helped things out, communicated really well with our goalkeeper as well as the other defenders too.”
In her own right, Vetterl was selected to patrol the sidelines of the upcoming all-star game after receiving a phone call offering it to her last July.
“I received the phone call asking if I’d be interested in doing it, and of course I jumped on the opportunity,” Vetterl said.
Vetterl, who played college basketball, soccer and a year of softball at William Paterson in New Jersey, said she knew she wanted to go into coaching after she served as a fifth-year student assistant.
“I just always knew that was something I wanted to do from the get go and I had very good role models as far as coaches go,” Vetterl explained. “The support was always there and I just kind of wanted to turn around and do that for others.”
That coaching journey has led her to the honor of coaching in the statewide all-star game for the first time in her career.
Vetterl coached Corinth Holders to two-straight 14-win season the last two years, following a run to the state championship in 2017 that made the Pirates the first Johnston County girls soccer program to make it that far. She was named North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association Public School 3-A Girls Coach of the Year in 2017.
Now with the game coming up next week, she said she is most excited to coach some of the best talent in the state.
“All these girls pretty much are going to play at the next level, and this is kind of their last little hurrah of high school,” Vetterl said. “The honor for me is just being able to coach the best. You just want to go out there, you want to have fun, you want them to get to know each other.”