Few players have impacted a team the way Kaylee Coatney did this fall.
Though just a freshman at Bonney Lake High School, she led the Panther soccer team in scoring, provided leadership when called upon and helped her squad to a Pierce County League 3A title. When it came time for league coaches to hand out personal honors, Coatney was tabbed as the PCL Offensive Player of the Year and was a first-team, all-league selection.
One of her vocal fans is Panther coach Wayne Farris – though it goes against his nature to focus attention on a single player.
“One of the things I’ve always loved about the game of soccer is that it is the ultimate team sport,” Farris said. But he makes an exception for his standout freshman.
“She embodies everything that is good about the game, particularly the ‘team’ aspect of it,” Farris said, using words like “humble” and “gracious” to describe Coatney. “She plays for more than just herself and, in doing so, garners respect and admiration from her teammates.”
When he first began learning about Coatney last year, Farris said he heard as much about her character as he did about the skill set she brings to the pitch.
For those outside the program, the numbers Coatney posted during the recently-concluded season were impossible to ignore.
With 26 goals and 14 assists, she had a hand in 67 percent of the Panthers’ 60 team goals. Her contributions expanded when team captain, senior Jasmine Smith, was sidelined with a broken foot near the end of the season. Coatney, despite her freshman status, “stepped in as team captain and elevated her leadership role and her game even more,” Farris said.