By Kyle LoJacono
Katie Hellman got to realize her dream of playing college soccer when she signed a letter of intent Feb. 12 to compete at Palm Beach Atlantic (PBA) University.
“Ever since I was little I wanted to play in college,” Hellman said. “I didn’t know if it would happen, but I always hoped that it would.”
Hellman, a senior midfielder at Bishop McLaughlin, picked up the game at age 5 with the Hernando Heat Youth Soccer Club. She also competed in volleyball, basketball and swimming while growing up, but she said nothing was like playing on the pitch.
“I just loved it from the start,” Hellman said. “It’s always been a part of me since I was little. My brother (Nick) played it and played here at Bishop. I played a lot of sports, but I just loved it so much because it’s such a team effort to win, but individually you still have to do your job.”
Hellman played four years with the Hurricanes, which included playoff berths during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.
She said it’s been really rewarding to help the seventh-year program make the postseason twice during her career.
“It’s really good to see a small school with not that many kids on the team able to make the playoffs twice,” Hellman said. “We worked hard to get to that level.”
Hellman helped the ‘Canes amass a 38-23-6 record the last four years with 30 goals and 24 assists in her career.
“You have your ups and downs with a team, but it’s really been a great family atmosphere here,” Hellman said. “So many of my friends I met playing soccer here. There’s been so many great experiences.”
Hellman said PBA offered everything she was looking for.
“It’s a smaller school atmosphere, which was something I wanted,” said Hellman, who will study marine biology. “They had a really nice team, and I really liked the coach. It’s by the water for marine biology, so it’s a good fit for me.”
PBA is an independent Division II program in West Palm Beach. The Sailfish went 13-5-2 last season and won a regional championship in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) playoffs while reaching the third round of the national tournament.
—Follow Kyle LoJacono on Twitter: @Kyle_Laker
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