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When Kenadie Carlson was just learning to play soccer as a kid, she suffered a broken arm, only to return the next game.
Last summer, the Columbus North star was knocked off her feet when hit in the face with a ball during a club game. The referee stopped the game, but Carlson got up and scored a goal about a minute later.
In the same game, not long after that goal, Carlson was again hit in the face with a ball and again knocked to the ground. This time, the referee made her leave the game until she came to her senses.
“She’s determined,” said Carlson’s mother, Jenny. “She’s always been kind of a feisty player. There’s nothing that will keep her off the field. She’s always had that determination to play through things.”
Kenadie, the middle of three soccer-playing girls, has had that mindset in her first three years with the Bull Dogs. Now a senior captain, she takes over the team leadership role along with senior Gabby Sims.
“We’re trying hard to lead the team and get us to come together, and I think we are coming together,” Carlson said. “We’re young, but we’ve improved so much between summer and now in that short time.”
Carlson netted 12 goals and eight assists as a freshman to help lead North to a state runner-up finish. She added 11 goals and 12 assists as a sophomore in helping the Bull Dogs to a state final four appearance and had team highs of 12 goals and five assists last season.
While Carlson played mostly in the midfield the past three seasons, she could play more as a forward this fall.
“We have some more options this year and can move some people around, so I think we’ll see her up top a little bit more this year,” North coach Derek Stewart said. “She’s great at (one-on-one), taking on defenders and driving to goal.”
Next year, Carlson will be doing that at Xavier University. She also had visited Indiana, Purdue, Butler, Louisville, Wisconsin and Miami (Ohio).
“I looked at a lot of schools, but at Xavier, I felt like I really fit in,” said Carlson, who wants to major in something business related. “I love the coaches, I love the team and it’s very good academically, which was important to me. I love the campus, and out of all the schools, it was the best fit for me.”
Carlson, who has played for the Carmel United Soccer Club the past few years, left with several of her club teammates and coach to form the Indy Premier Soccer Club. She also will be making trips to Ohio during the club season to play for the Elite Club National League team in Cleveland.
“I’ll try to go to as many practices as I can, but it’s quite a drive,” Carlson said. “One of the coaches is the U18 national team coach, so it’s a good opportunity to be playing over there.”
A third-team All-State selection last season, Carlson hopes to make first or second team this year while helping the Bull Dogs improve on their 8-8-3 record and regional semifinal appearance.
“I want to be a good role model for the team, be a good leader and help us any way we can,” Carlson said. “I love my team, and I love being a part of it and helping us improve and get better.”
“Kenadie certainly is one of our team leaders,” Stewart said. “She’s been playing varsity ever since she was a freshman and has scored some important goals for us. She’s a hard worker. She carries the weight of the team on her shoulders.”
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