Kennedi Williams has been a star for a long time. Since childhood, she dreamed of playing soccer on the collegiate level, but her senior year forced her to overcome obstacles and find herself outside of her favorite sport.
The multi-talented Williams began playing soccer early, but once those other sports began to demand more of her soccer time, it was time to cut them loose.
“I started playing soccer at four years old. I did dance, gymnastics, swimming and track, but soccer just stuck. Swimming and track helped me with stamina. They gave me natural body muscles where you don’t understand how many muscles you’re using until you’re using them. They were fun, but it was definitely soccer over everything.” Williams said.
For Williams, soccer was more than just a game, it was father-daughter bonding time.
“It was a thing with my dad, we did all the time. He played (soccer) growing up and so I started playing and it stuck. I started with Fun Fair Positive Soccer, then moved to Eclipse. I played recreational with them for two years, then I broke my ankle. Once I healed, my first day back I pulled my meniscus.
After being bitten by the injury bug a few times, Williams adopted a different approach.
“I took some time off, then went back to Eclipse for their select team. Once the organization switched to RISE I stopped playing select soccer and began focusing on training to prevent injuries. In high school, I returned to play and trained seven days a week,” said Williams.
After training hard and becoming injury free, Williams would face another hurdle in life; the passing of her father.
“He passed away my freshman year. I felt like quitting and just focusing on academics. I took seven months off but then I realized this is not what he wanted for me and it’s not what I want for myself, so I started working harder to make him proud,” Williams said.
Senior year came and Williams was getting looks from Texas State, Grambling State University and the University of North Texas, but the same injury she suffered early in her youth would come back to find her again.
“I suffered an ACL injury with a deep bone bruise. The only fix is surgery. So I won’t be able to play college soccer,” Williams said.
This injury forced Williams to look within and focus on her other talents she had been equipped with.
“It hurts when you work for something your whole life just for it to get down the drain, but not playing soccer brought out a different side of me that I never knew I had. It gave me time to do different things, where in the past I didn’t have time because I was always training for soccer,” Williams said.
Next year Williams will be graduating from Elkins High School with 30 college credits and attending Prairie View A&M University where she plans to study biology with a pre-med track.
“I’ve always wanted to play soccer and do something in the medical field. Growing up, I was hurt a lot. I knew I couldn’t fully let go of sports, but my last injury forced me to think outside the box. Once I started going to my orthopedic sports surgeon, I realized, this is what I want to do. I did an internship last year with MD Anderson and it was fun. I loved it,” Williams said.
While attending Prairie View, Williams hopes to partake in the undergraduate medical academy, a program that accepts 10 applicants and prepares them for the MCAT.
“You take special classes and it pushes you to go to med school. Applying for the undergraduate medical academy gave me more hope to open up to my future versus holding onto my present. Soccer was my present and I know orthopedic sports surgery will be my future,” Williams said.
About Kennedi Williams
Position: Left wing
Height & weight: 5-feet-3, 148 pounds
Players she studies: Mikayla Cram (Ft. Bend Elkins), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC)
Favorite artists: Jhené Aiko, Lil Baby, 21 Savage, Drake
Shout-outs: Lindsay, Alex, McKayla, Coach Haase, Coach Holmes, family