GROTON -- Groton-Dunstable senior goalkeeper Kailyn Rekos is the type of leader who is not afraid of making her opinion known while on the pitch. Rekos has been involved with the game of soccer since a young age and credits her successes to the tutelage she has received from her goalkeeper coach Matt Davison.
Rekos not only captured the attention of her coach and teammates, she has also garnered a lot of respect from the league, state and New England region. Groton-Dunstable's Division 2 District Quarterfinals overtime win over Auburn this season is Rekos' most beloved memory as a Lady Crusader.
"That was probably the best game my team has played. We were all there for each other," said Rekos. "Everyone was cheering; even the players who did not get to play on the field were into the game. Everyone was into the game, and everybody wanted it just as much as the person standing next to them.
Rekos was named first team All Central Mass., First Team All-State, and First-Team All-New England. There is no off-season for Rekos, as she competes year-round for the elite club team Massachusetts Stars.
"Kaylin Rekos is the best female goalkeeper I have ever worked with," said head coach Steven Naboicheck. "Mass. soccer is a very important tool for those players who take the sport very seriously. It is what you need to do to get to that next level."
Rekos is the type of goalkeeper who does not become timid when an attacking player crashes in on goal. Throughout the course of a season it is not uncommon to see Rekos step out to anticipate the next move of the attacking player. The only time you will see Rekos' keeper jersey clean is on non-match days.
One of her favorite things to do is to motivate her teammates prior to the game, and keep their nerves on ice.
"I try to stay focused but it's always good to stay a little nervous because it keeps my reaction on edge," said Rekos. "I try and get my teammates pumped up and upbeat and feeling very good before the game."
Rekos compares her style of play to USA Womens' Soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo. Solo is the type of goalkeeper who her teammates love, but opponents don't enjoy facing.
"I would hopefully be compared to Hope Solo. I like having that leadership in the back towards my own teammates," said Rekos. "Having people hear me and be intimidated by my voice is always fun. I have that leadership towards my own teammates. I look up to Hope Solo in that way, because other teams are scared of her and her own teammates look up to her."
Allowing a goal to cross the goal line can be demoralizing for a goalkeeper at any level, but Naboicheck believes that Rekos is a special breed.
"For a goalkeeper you need to be fearless and strong mentally," said Naboicheck. "If a goal goes in, Kailyn refocuses, and she is ready to go."
Rekos anchored the Lady Crusaders defense with her strong leadership qualities and willingness to do whatever it takes to help her team be successful. Her hard work and dedication has not gone unnoticed by college recruiters. Northeastern and a few other schools have expressed interest in the Groton-Dunstable goalkeeper.
"She wasn't limited in her options. She verbally committed to Delaware because it was the best fit for her," said Naboicheck. "She will be well-suited for them with her passion for the game. D-1 soccer is not for everyone."
Rekos verbally committed to the University of Delaware since last February, and she plans to make it an official written commitment this February. The Delaware Blue Hens compete in the Colonial Athletic Association along with Northeastern.
Rekos is one of three very strong leaders on the Groton-Dunstable girls' soccer team this season, and her communication skills on the pitch were a valued commodity. Rekos took home Team Most Valuable Player Honors at the Crusaders' end of the year team banquet. Standout senior midfielder Dani Kenney will join Rekos at the All-State banquet.
"The whole team benefited from having her there," said Naboicheck. "I know that she will be successful in whatever she chooses to do. We all wish her the very best."