Story by Jeff Gard/jgsportsmedia.com
Kennedy McMurray’s love for soccer is hard to describe.
It’s a passion, though, that blossomed on the soccer fields in Cobourg from an early age.
“I’m a very active person so I love the physical side of it,” she said. “I love just how passionate I am about it. I love the running…it’s kind of hard to specifically point something out because I’ve played it my whole life so I can’t say something specific.”
The fun in the early years was just running around and kicking the ball. Those are great memories that she has.
Playing soccer has never stopped being fun, even as she moved to the more competitive side of the sport, playing at the rep level for local Cobourg-based Northumberland United teams and then in Bowmanville. She has also played for Ontario Player Development League teams in Whitby and Pickering.
McMurray is a versatile player ready to play whatever role and position is required.
“I’m actually kind of all over the place,” she said. “I play both mid, winger and occasionally my coaches throw me in at striker.”
She will graduate from St. Mary Catholic Secondary School in Cobourg this year where she also played for the Thunder soccer team, competing at one Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) tournament two years ago. The Thunder were scheduled to host the OFSAA championship last year before it was cancelled.
McMurray wanted the opportunity for her skilled team to have a chance to win the provincial championship on home field, but they didn’t get the chance and then this season got wiped out as well.
She will graduate from St. Mary this June and will be moving on to play soccer at the university level, having signed a letter of commitment to join the Trinity Christian College Trolls women’s soccer team in Palos Heights, Illinois next season.
McMurray estimates she was in the nine to 11 age range when pursuing a soccer scholarship and playing at a high level became a goal she would strive for.
“It was actually when my parents first took me to a FIFA under-20 women’s World Cup game in Toronto at the BMO FIeld,” McMurray said. “We stayed after the game and I was able to get some of the girls’ signatures and I realized some of them weren’t really much older than me at the time. I just realized that should be what I’m striving for because I loved it so much.”
McMurray had been in touch with other schools and even had other offers, but Trinity Christian College offered her a personal connection. Friends of the McMurrays have a daughter, Selah Hopkins, from Bowmanville already playing for the Trolls.
Hopkins reached out to McMurray, letting her know the team was looking for new players and was able to provide insight that the coach was great to play for and it’s a great school to attend.
That proved to be valuable information since McMurray was unable to visit the school in person while having to make a big decision about her future. She’ll head to Illinois in August for the start of the soccer pre-season.
“I just really loved this coach and the team, knowing they were kind of more of a family than just a team,” McMurray, who will study towards a degree in exercise science, said. “I really loved that, especially moving far away from home.”