By MATT PARRINO
The Tonawanda News
CITY OF TONAWANDA — Great players in any sport have to be a little cocky.
Tonawanda junior Kalyn Compeau is no Muhammad Ali when it comes to swag, but she’s working on it — and that’s exactly what her coach wants. She said it’s the key to her progression on the pitch.
“She’s starting to develop a little of that cockiness that she needs to get to the next level,” said Warriors coach Julie Schork. “That will set her apart from other players on the team and in Section IV.”
Compeau has been great from the moment she played her first game in a Warriors uniform. She was the only Tonawanda player to net a goal in her first varsity game — a sectional playoff victory — as an eighth grader.
Ever since she burst onto the scene, Compeau has been in the limelight. The pressure can be debilitating for a young athlete still learning the game, but she’s always welcomed the challenge.
“It’s nerve-wracking, but it’s pretty cool,” Compeau said of being the face of Tonawanda girls soccer. “It’s hard dealing with the double teams and the amount of people on me, and there’s pressure on me to score — people are like, ‘give it to Kalyn, give it to Kalyn.’ But I tend to handle pressure pretty good. I think I was born with it. It doesn’t seem to stop me on the field.”
Earlier this season Compaeu suffered the first significant injury of her career when she pulled her hamstring. She missed two games but has been on a tear since returning.
She’s netted at least one goal in each of her last five games and recorded a hat trick against Depew in league play on Sept. 25.
“We’ve built our program around her and we saw (how special) she was as an eighth and ninth grader,” Schork said. “She just has this natural ability to put the ball in the net and make great passes. She sees the field and she knows where people are without even looking.”
Compeau is starting to look for her offense and Schork said it’s coming at an important time for her and the team. The junior forward looks to get others involved and her teammates appreciate it.
But now Compeau has to start to embrace her talent and start looking to score, according to Schork. Judging by the scoring she’s commenced in recent weeks, Schork’s message has been received.
“I play intense and I play to win,” Compeau said. “When I’m out there I don’t think about anything else, just soccer and winning. I tend to pass the ball a lot but I know I have to work on finishing and scoring more goals.”
Schork said Compeau is a student of the game and that she loves to learn. It’s part of the reason she became so good so fast, and why her future is so bright.
“She’s going to come across a lot of opportunities. It’s time for her to shine,” Schork said. “She has to understand that if she wants to play Division I or in college. She has to be sort of selfish and be a little cocky, because she’s such a nice kid and a humble kid, which I love. But now, she has to make her own destiny.