Kaela Little has come up big as Bishop Kelley's goalkeeper
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
6/20/12 at 3:55 AM
Kaela Little has known nothing but championships during her Bishop Kelley career.
The Comets' goalkeeper was a big reason why the elite program ended its inaugural Class 6A campaign with a state title.
"It's still kind of surreal," Little said. "We set our expectations high, but there's that little bit of doubt that we wouldn't do it. We proved it to ourselves and others that we belong in 6A. It was awesome."
Little has been named the Tulsa World's girls soccer metro player of the year, coupling the honor with the Gatorade Oklahoma player of the year.
Little will be a senior next season. She already has given a verbal commitment to play soccer at Notre Dame, which won the 2010 national championship.
She was sold on the Fighting Irish after one visit to South Bend, Ind.
"I just had this gut feeling and, after I made my decision, I felt sure and haven't second-guessed myself," Little said. "I just knew. Their academics are amazing, and I loved the school and the soccer. ... Everything I was looking for in a school was represented by Notre Dame."
Little has been a goalkeeper since she was "11 or 12" she says. Why did she make the move from the field? She's not shy to answer that question.
"I wasn't good enough on the field when I was younger," she said. "I moved back into the goal and it fit my personality perfectly."
Little calls herself her biggest critic. She's also quick to recognize her teammates.
"Our defense was the MVP (in the playoffs)," Little said. "Without my teammates, I would be in a lot of trouble."
She has a goal before making the trip to Notre Dame.
"I am extremely excited for the next school season because I'll be a senior," she said. "I'll be looking for that back-to-back 6A state championship. We'll see if that happens."
Season highlight: "This season and winning the 6A state championship."
Coach Troy Tokarchik says: "Kaela is very humble in her accomplishments and honors. She is quick to recognize the efforts of the other girls around her, especially her defenders, explaining she is only as good as the girls around her. A very special player and person."
About Little: "I have Type 1 Diabetes. I was diagnosed at 16 months and I have dealt with it my whole life. Sometimes it inhibits my soccer playing. Sometimes I can't always play. I manage it and do it well."
Favorite soccer player: "Iker Casillas (of Spain). He is also a goalkeeper, and I like the way he plays. He's extremely aggressive and commanding in the goal. That's what I want to work toward."
Best high school memory: "My brother (David) is going to be a freshman next year and I'm excited to have him go to school with me for at least a year."
Fun fact: "I took a trip to Barcelona with the Region III ODP (Olympic Development Program) team. That was the spring break of my sophomore year. It was an incredible experience. I'm blessed and lucky that I was able to go."
Original Print Headline: One shining Comet
Eric Bailey 918-581-8391
Kaela Little has given a verbal commitment to Notre Dame, the 2010 national champion. STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World