Glastonbury High School senior Kelsey Landers will soon be heading to play out her athletic aspirations and follow her dreams of becoming a nurse in New Rochelle, NY.
“I am extremely excited and blessed to announce my verbal commitment to play D1 soccer at Iona University,” Lander announced in July. “Huge thanks to my family, friends, teammates, and coaches who helped me along the way.”
College soccer is the natural next step for Landers, who comes from a family that lives and breathes the sport.
Lander’s father, Mark Landers, has coached her the past two seasons at GHS and her older sister, Chloe Landers, is a 2020-GHS graduate who now plays for the University of Connecticut, starting all 18 games and leading the Huskies in minutes this fall.
She also has a twin sister, Mackenzie Landers, who recently committed to play college soccer at Stonehill College.
Landers called Iona “a good fit” and said she chose the school after her initial visit in the summer.
“I toured the school and ironically some of the girls from the team were training on the turf field and I got to chat with them, and they told me how the school works and what the environment was like,” recalled Landers, who was also attracted to the school’s nursing program. “It is the best fit for me academically and with playing soccer. I knew I wanted to be challenged with both.”
The transition to college soccer should be a smooth one for Landers, who has played with countless players on a variety of teams in youth soccer and throughout high school.
She started playing at an early age for the Oakwood Soccer Club, playing at the local club until the eighth grade. She then played club soccer for Connecticut Football Club (CFC) during her first three years in high school and is now finishing at Farmington Sports Arena FSA Premier Soccer Club as a senior.
Landers started that because she came from a house full of soccer, she was drawn to the game at an early age, but that her passion increased when she tore her medial collateral ligament (MCL) in high school. The knee injury kept her off the field for a chunk of time and watching from the sidelines made her realize how much the sport meant to her.
“It was very frustrating coming back from a knee injury,” recalled Landers. “Just watching the game and seeing my teammates put in all the hard work made me love it more.”
Landers was healthy this season as the Guardians won a conference title and made a deep run into the state tournament.
She called her senior season at GHS “special” because of the people she shared the field with, saying, “we were one big family.”
“This year our senior class worked really hard. We were all good friends and we made sure to include those underclassmen and show them what Glastonbury soccer is all about,” stated Landers. “We faced adversity, and we really picked each other up instead of getting down on one another. Without those friendships we would have faced a lot of challenges emotionally.”
Mark Landers said that Kelsey developed that “fight” and became more physical her senior year, which he added will bode well for her at the next level.
“Kelsey’s understanding of the game is strong, she’s like a little coach out on the field,” added Mark Landers. “Her communication has improved tremendously, and she now has that competitive fire.”
At her next stop, Landers will be joining a Gaels program at Iona that plays in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
The Gaels are led by head coach Todd Plourde, who is in his fourth season with the program after serving as an assistant soccer coach at Yale University for a dozen years.
Landers said that she is looking forward to joining a team with players from across the country, adding, “It will definitely be a challenge but I’m up for the challenge and will do anything it takes to become a nurse or do whatever it takes to become a good soccer player.”
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin