For more on high school sports, follow Dakota Crawford via Twitter at https://twitter.com/DakotaCrawford_
Facing their first time traveling internationally, Fort Wayne soccer standouts Kennedy Brough and Karsyn Kleinrichert are glad to have each other.
Since they were about four years old, the pair has played side-by-side on the pitch. Brough and Kleinrichert are currently teammates on the Fort Wayne United Soccer Club U15 Academy Team.
Strong play from both girls at the club level drew attention from the Indiana Olympic Development Program, which allows young soccer players to participate in monthly training sessions. And even access to the occasional 10-day trip to Germany to play alongside international athletes.
Though intimidating at first, the trip is nothing but exciting for the girls now.
“We're so close … If we feel homesick or something, we have each other,” Kleinrichert said.
Both admitted that had their friend not been selected, the other would have a hard time going alone. Fortunately, both girls applied for the trip and were later selected from the pool of Indiana talent.
It wasn't a cheap application process, either. Just getting your name on the list required a $300 deposit -- just one of the daunting elements of an international experience.
Neither of the girls has completely packed a bag yet, either.
“I freaked out about the money,” Brough said. “It was making me nervous.”
This will be the first time since the pair split for high school that they get to play together. When one chose to attend Bishop Luers, and the other Bishop Dwenger, a friendly rivalry was born. Unfortunately, Brough was injured when the two not-so-friendly teams met earlier this year, and still hasn't had the opportunity to compete against Kleinrichert.
They'll have to wait until next year for that matchup, but for now, they're excited to be back in matching uniforms. Apart from the occasional “misunderstanding” on the field, the two love playing together.
“There's competition sometimes, and we kind of get on each other's butts about things, but we end up getting a lot of goals off each other,” Kleinrichert said.
“We definitely work well together,” Brough added.
In Germany, Brough said she hopes to gain a new perspective of the game. Though soccer is supposed to be universal, she said, the Germans will have different in-game philosophies that she is excited to see in action.
Brough, generally the more aggressive of the two, said she is able to “scare” opponents with her tenacity alone. Kleinrichert relies on finesse and ball skills to get under the skin of opposing players.
Their mothers said the two are like night-and-day, on and off the field. One thing is certain though, just like during matches, they'll be watching out for one another during the trip.
“I was nervous about Germany at first,” Brough said. “We know the girls we are going with, but it's not like (Kleinrichert and I) are always with them.”