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GIRLS SOCCER: Grand Blanc’s Kate Childers loving opportunity to represent school in debut season




BY DAN STICKRADT

WEB AND CONTENT EDITOR

stickradt@michigansoccernetwork.com

C: 248-884-1051

TW: @LocalSportsFans


GRAND BLANC – Kate Childers is relishing every moment on the soccer pitch.


The Grand Blanc senior is playing high school soccer for the first time after several successful years either playing for the Michigan Hawks ECNL 10-month program or the Nationals Girls Academy. She is a big-time player in her age group and trying to help her friends, classmates and new-found teammates recapture some glory from yesterday.


“We’re happy that Kate could play high school with us for one season,” admitted veteran Grand Blanc coach Greg Kehler. “She’s made quite an impact. We had a lot of girls back this year and Kate has helped elevate us.”


A long-storied program at Grand Blanc, the Bobcats have had some recent voids on the championship banners inside the gymnasium and Childers and her teammates are trying to reverse that trend.


“I have a lot of confidence in us,” offered Childers. “My teammates Anna (Sabo, Addy (Thomas) we have some great seniors and the younger kids have really improved. I think we’re really well-rounded and I think we have a chance (to go far).”


An attacking midfielder by trade – Childers earned some postseason honors at the GA And ECNL levels the past few years – and she has stepped right into that same role for the 15-4-2 Bobcats, who spent some time either in the MHISSCA Division 1 Top 15 or honorable mention this season. During her middle school and high school days she is a former top 100 national pool player prospect and, in the past, received five U.S. Soccer YNT ID Center invites and attended the U.S. Soccer Training Center Combine back in 2017.





Following a recent four-goal outburst in a 4-0 shutout of Flushing in a Division 1 district semifinal, Childers now has 30 goals and 13 assists for the 2023 high school campaign. She was recently voted the unanimous Player of the Year in the Saginaw Valley League. The League MVP should be the No. 1 rated player in the Clarkston district and rank near the top of her regional list.


Childers is also a likely candidate for both Division 1 All-State First Team and All-State Dream thanks to her soccer pedigree, resume and performances on the field this prep season.


She signed earlier this school year with the NCAA Division I University of Minnesota of the Big Ten Conference after entertaining offers from a variety of NCAA Division I and NCAA Division II schools. Last summer following her junior year of high school Childers also had the opportunity to play for Detroit City FC USL W-League along with some current college players and hone her skills for her won future collegiate career.


The Bobcats came up just short in the SVL standings, going 10-1-1 and finishing second to Midland Dow. But in the state tournament Childers and Co. hope to make up for that shortcoming with at least a district championship.


Childers and her talented senior class which featured several other college-bound soccer players will play in the district finals this weekend against Clarkston with the hopes of winning the school’s district crown since 2019. The Bobcats own 24 district championships in the last 34 years, including 10 straight from 2010-2019, captured five regional crowns and finished as the state runner-up four times (2004, 2015, 2017 and 2018).


Childers had two other older sister that competed for Grand Blanc in the last decade and would love nothing more than to help the Bobcats earn some more hardware in the state tournament.


Kate Childers’ older sisters, Ally Childers (Class of 2019) and Rachel Childers (2016), both captured their fair share of championship hardware during their playing days in the last decade with Grand Blanc, earning SVL, district and regional titles and playing in the Division 1 state title games while earning a plethora of individual postseason honors. Now the youngest sister of the Childers family tree is trying to write her own chapter in the Bobcats soccer lore this season.






“I grew up watching my older sisters play, and I played club the last three years,” said Childers. “I was really, really excited to play this year (for Grand Blanc) and we didn’t win the SVL, but this whole season we’ve scored a lot of goals so that felt really good.”

Just having the opportunity to play high school for three months was a welcome experience for Childers, part of a large amount of former Girls Academy or ECNL 10-month program standout players now suiting up for their respective high schools across the state of Michigan.

“Club makes it so hard (to play a high school sport),” offered Childers. “I played ECNL for two years and played GA for a year. We play (almost) year-round, 10 months, so I was just trying to get recruited. Now that I’m committed, I always wanted to play high school.


“It is a hard decision because you want to play for your school but other players on my club team go to smaller schools and I get it. Not everyone wants to play for their school,” continued Childers. “But Grand Blanc’s a great school, so I just really wanted to play for them.”


And with the final weeks of the high school season and the fact that Childers recently graduated, the chapters of club and high school are about to come to a close Childers would nothing more to add a banner or two to Grand Blanc’s long list of accomplishments.


“We would love to win a district and be able to make a run,” she smiled. “My older sisters enjoyed their time at Grand Blanc and helped their teams (reach) the state finals. I would love to help my teammates go as far as we can (this season).”





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