First-year Raelyn Callahan dominates the field
Playing college soccer at Keene State wasn’t originally what first-year Raelyn Callahan planned to do upon graduation from North Middlesex High school in Pepperell, Massachusetts.
Callahan, who has been playing soccer since she was five years old, says that she originally planned to go into the military, a plan she still hopes comes to fruition. Callahan was also considering going to school for gymnastics, another main sport for her growing up. She explained that although she had other thoughts on her college plans, in her junior year of high school, she knew that soccer is what she needed to commit for.
Callahan said she is grateful she chose to play a college sport, explaining that she has made some of her best friends through playing sports. She also explained that her overall health, both mental and physical, has improved due to sports.
“It’s definitely opened up some ways of thinking too. It’s not always gonna be about me, there’s other factors that lean into what I’m doing,” she said.
Many athletes look up to professional athletes in their sport as motivators, however, for Callahan, her motivator is a little different. She explains that she mostly looks up to her sister, and the captains and upperclassmen on her team.
“She [her sister] is a big motivator for me. She played college soccer and then was deployed overseas, or I guess I think a lot of captains, the seniors, they’re also a big part of that too,” Callahan said.
As for how the season is going so far for the women’s soccer team, Callahan explains that although they didn’t start off on the strongest note, she believes the reason behind that is not knowing how the other girls played. She believes that the team is doing much better now and thinks that they get better each and every day.
“I’m really excited to see what the season will hold towards the end. That’s when it really matters. But I think we’re just getting better every single day and I just really have a good feeling about this season. Yeah, yeah, I’m super excited for the rest of the season, so let’s hope it goes well.”
Callahan’s teammate sophomore Rachel Souza gave a brief insight into how she views the first-year’s attitude and personality.
“She’s a great teammate, she always is in a positive mood and I just think she brings a lot of energy to the team. She’s super funny. She’s very outgoing and she always brings jokes. She’s just very funny and she’s unique,” Souza said.
Souza would describe Callahan as ‘unique’ and explains that she isn’t afraid of what others think about her. She went on to explain that she is “just different” from anyone she’s ever met before.
When it comes to her work ethic, Souza explains that Callahan is an incredibly strong player and that she isn’t afraid to “go through” anyone who stands in her way of scoring and doing the best she can.
Callahan has three goals so far this season, the second most of anyone on the team. She only trails junior Kayleigh Marshall by two goals and there is still time to catch up. This is good for the team, and as Souza states, very impressive and needed from the firstyear player.
“She’s stepped up and done everything that we’ve needed her to do. She’s a team player and she knows how to put the ball in the back of the net, which is something our team has been struggling with,” said Souza.
Callahan is a double commit to both soccer and basketball at Keene State. She explains that she didn’t originally plan to play both sports in college, but says that she loved them both and wasn’t mentally ready to give one of those up when coming to Keene. According to Callahan, although she isn’t the tallest one on the court, she is ready for basketball season to start and ready for the challenges that are going to be thrown her way.
Callahan explained that she grew up in a big family consisting of four brothers and a sister and that all of her siblings were playing basketball, so she wanted to be like them and play as well. From that moment on, she fell in love with the sport and has been playing ever since.
Although she is excited for the season, she explains that since she’s never played college basketball before, she is a little nervous about some aspects of the sport.
“How I am with the team and everything and how their culture is and how they are towards one another and when the games start, how does it feel? Is it gonna feel different than soccer? Am I gonna do okay?”
Callahan, Souza and the rest of the girls will be back on the field tonight against Castleton University with a 7:00 p.m. start time. They are looking to stay on a high note after a win against UMass-Dartmouth this past Saturday. Read all about that win in Last minute goal on page B5.