Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

February 22, 2014

East Carter duo sign to play college soccer

GRAYSON — Taylor Burnett and Starr Caldwell were stars for the East Carter girls soccer team. Both shared district championships and many outstanding moments as Lady Raiders.

They shared one more moment as they both signed to play college soccer Thursday at East Carter High School. Burnett will spend the next four years at Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro while Caldwell takes her talents to Hesston College in Kansas.

Growing up, Burnett never thought that she would make it to a day where she would sign to play soccer at the collegiate level.

“Absolutely not,” Burnett said. “I never really thought about it. As I progressed throughout high school, it was in the back of my mind that maybe I could play soccer at the next level.”

Burnett, a midfielder, scored nine goals this past season for the 17-4-1 Lady Raiders. Caldwell, the goalkeeper, only gave up 12 goals in 20 games in her final season with East.

Hesston, Kan., about an hour north of Wichita, is 861 miles away from Grayson. It did not matter to Caldwell, who has her education paid for and gets to play the sport she loves.

“It’s pretty exciting and I didn’t think I’d get a chance to until (Hesston Coach Bryan Kehr) contacted me,” Caldwell said. “He’s giving me a chance. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Caldwell actually agreed to play for the Larks on her visit earlier this month. As soon as she stepped foot on campus, she was sold.

“I love it there,” Caldwell said. “It’s a pretty campus. The people were really nice. He was already talking about me (playing early) and I just want to work hard and give it my all.”

The same goes for Burnett.

“Coach (Jamie) Duvall took me in under his wing as one of his own players when I visited,” Burnett said.  “His son played at the college level, too, and all he ever wanted to hear was (his son’s coach) say I’ll take care of him. He said the same thing to me.”

Both say they expect to see some playing time when they begin college.

“I hope to be involved (in the rotation),” Burnett said. “Most freshmen do not get a lot of playing time and I just hope that I can prove myself and make an impact up there.”

Burnett plans to major in zoology at KWC while Caldwell will study nursing at Hesston.

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