An incoming sixth grader at Prairie Elementary school made the cut for a selective youth soccer development program that looks to develop Olympic-level talent.
Caroline Coleman was one of just 18 girls in Kansas to be selected for the Olympic Development Program state team for her age group — and now she’s one of just 36 players from the Midwest region to advance to the next level.
Coleman participated in a showcase event in Rockford, Ill., earlier this month where scouts evaluated the ODP players from 13 states. Each state team played four games against other states, and in one round of competition Coleman, a midfielder, scored two goals.
“Her best skill is usually setting up other players to make plays,” said her father, Brendan. “She kind of stood out that game a bit.”
After the state teams finished their play, organizers picked just 36 out of the 234 state level participants to advance to the regional pool. As a regional pool player, Coleman took part in a three-day camp to receive further evaluation, where scouts determined which players may have the potential to play for a national team.
Caroline, who is small for her age, was one of the youngest players at the camp, and one of the shortest.
“They took a picture of her against two of the biggest girls at the camp, and she barely came up to their waist,” Brendan said.
Brendan said Caroline took to soccer as soon as they introduced her to it around the time she was 5.
“We don’t have any family history with the sport, so she kind of had to learn it on her own,” he said. “But she picked it up really quickly and was exceptional at it. Her goal for a long time has been to be on the women’s national team.”