Atchison alumna Kadejah Ross races to the ball against a Neosho Community College player in a scrimmage.

Not many athletes get to go on to play at the college level, let alone become a starter their first season, no matter the level.

Atchison alumna Kadejah Ross was able to earn this distinction her freshman season at the University of St. Mary.

Ross started every game at the defender position for the Spires, but she certainly didn’t see herself having the amount of playing time she received this soon.

“It was very cool and humbling for sure,” Ross said. “I didn’t expect to start as a freshman.”

Despite her early success, Ross said getting acclimated to the speed and skill of the players at the college level was eye-opening.

“Some of the challenges I faced were adjusting to the different levels of playing and being able to adjust to adversity,” Ross said. “There are a lot of girls that can really play soccer at his level, and trying to learn how to defend them all differently is a challenge in itself.”

Ross said she was able to hone her skill level in detailed ways this season with the Spires like she hadn’t before.

“I improved in my confidence overall and small skills that I may not have emphasized previously,” Ross said. “I definitely had a big adjustment period when it came to the style of play and overall composure of the game.”

The Spires finished 4-8-4, but had three one goal losses and Ross hopes her team can improve on closing out close games this upcoming season as well as improving her confidence even more on an individual level.

“Some goals I have for myself would be going into this year more confident not only in myself but with the ball as well,” Ross said. “My goal for my team would be to finish our games, we were in situations where we were so close to winning but ended up tying. This year I hope to win all of the games we tied last season.”

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