By Kyle LoJacono
It’s hard to miss the strong and confident voice of Emily Ball directing traffic on the field during Freedom girls soccer games.
The senior goalkeeper calls back defenders when needed, yells out when everyone should press the attack and warns her teammates of an approaching opponent.
“She definitely leads the team vocally in the back,” said Patriots second-year coach Jenna Ball. “It’s hard to find a keeper who is vocally so dominating on the field. Usually they’re shy in high school, but she automatically leads the team like that.”
And when it’s time to make a key save, Emily stops almost every routine shot and makes challenging saves look easy.
“Her athleticism just helps us out if we do make a mistake,” Jenna said. “We try not to, but if we do she is usually there to make the save.”
Emily made 76 saves and posted 10 shutouts while allowing only six goals last season, making her teammates confident she will stop virtually everything.
“It’s really reassuring knowing that we have somebody who we completely trust behind us,” said senior midfielder Alyssa Daniello. “It’s great to have such a strong captain and player who will have our backs just in case.”
Emily looks and acts like she has been between the pipes for her entire life, but she has only played the position for about 7 years.
“I became a goalkeeper when I was about 11,” Emily said. “That’s not where I started, but I’m glad it’s where I’m at.
“The thing I usually get is you’re crazy because all goalkeepers are crazy,” Emily continued. “Maybe that’s true, but I like the look on a strikers face with the disappointment and frustration when they can’t score.”
Emily got some playing time as a freshman, but took over as Freedom’s starter the following year. See has posted 16 shutouts while allowing only 14 goals during her first three seasons in high school.
Emily has committed to the University of South Carolina and plans to study engineering.
“It has a very great family atmosphere, and they have a great goalkeeping program,” Emily said. “It feels like family.”
After college, Emily said she would like to try a career as a professional soccer player but won’t be crushed if it does not happen.
“I love soccer,” Emily said. “My favorite memories are on a soccer field. If it becomes a career that’s great, but if not I’ll always have those great memories.”