NEWTOWN – Council Rock North girls soccer player Kayla Robinson started out playing center-back for the Lady Indians and was recruited to play that position at Charleston Southern University.
After switching to a forward position, she finished her career with 51 goals for the Indians, helping the Rock to states a season ago.
Kayla had no desire to ‘go back’ to her former slot on defense so her father sent the Buccaneers a video of Robinson in action up top. CSU agreed and, Kayla says, plans to play her on offense.
Ironically, playing forward didn’t come naturally to Robinson. As a high school freshman, former coach Jenna Lewing had her on defense. When Wendell Beres arrived in 2014, he decided Kayla was the spark the team needed on offense.
“I was frustrated at first. I was up top by myself,” she said. “I thought ‘there is no way I can do this.’ I was doubting myself.”
“But the more that I played, and the more I did the drills in practice, I figured ‘this is not that bad.’”
Robinson decided on her college choice early, making a verbal commitment to Charleston Southern way back in November 2015. She had scholarship offers from Atlantic 10 rival St. Joseph’s and had expressed interest in James Madison and Marist.
In the end, the Holy City seemed to beckon her name.
“I fell in love with the city,” said Robinson. “I feel like it’s a beautiful place for me to grow as a person and as a soccer player.
“It’s a great fit for me.”
Kayla expressed gratitude to Beres, the former Lady Indians coach who moved her up top. The move paid great dividends to both player and coach.
She thinks she can make an impact on the Buccaneers’ offense at CSU.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “I feel like I definitely have the potential to be a great forward in college.”
Robinson’s favorite season was junior year. And why not? The Rock went 16-6-3 that season, earned the 14th seed in districts where North defeated No. 3 seed West Chester Rustin and No. 6 seed WC Henderson.
The 2015 group made it all the way to a District 1-AAA semifinal where it took penalty kicks to determine that Downingtown West should be the team moving on. In a battle for third place, the Indians toppled No. 4 seed Spring-Ford, 5-4, in PKs.
In states, CR North blanked District 2 champ Wallenpaupack, 3-0, before getting ousted from the PIAA tournament by District 1 champion CB East.
“It was an amazing experience – the whole year was so much fun,” stated Robinson. “We all had this high energy.”
At the end of that school year, midfielder Tori Hill, after amassing 24 goals and 46 assists in her career at Rock North, moved on to Syracuse. And Beres, after stepping down at the end of last season, now guides soccer teams at Montgomery United U18 Boys and Mike Gorni’s National Futbol Academy.
Now, it’s Robinson’s turn to move on and she’s really looking ‘forward’ to it.
TOP PHOTO: Council Rock North senior Kayla Robinson (37), left, battles CR South senior Kasey Schlupp (17) for a 50-50 ball in a 2016 girls soccer duel between the schools. Robinson is headed to Charleston Southern University and Schlupp is going to Philadelphia University. (John Gleeson – 21st-Century Media)