Skylar Heinrich | Elkhorn HIgh School | Junior
When it comes to “going for it,” Elkhorn High School junior Skylar Heinrich doesn’t hold back. As a freshman, she made the varsity soccer team. As a sophomore, she committed to play soccer at Creighton University. And this past summer, she was offered a spot on FC Kansas City’s Development Academy (DA) as the only female player from Nebraska.
In its inaugural season and created by U.S. Soccer, the FC Kansas City DA is one of 69 clubs from seven regions across the country. The goal of the program is to accelerate players with their long-term development by providing an increased number of training opportunities for 10 months out of the year. Although games will be held in states such as Texas, Florida, and California, the number of training sessions—four per week—far outnumber the amount of games played.
As the only out-of-state player on the team, Skylar’s parents, Kevin and Amy, take turns driving Skylar to Kansas City three times per week for practice. The high school has worked with her schedule so that she has a study hall at the end of the days she has practice so she has time to travel. On the days she can’t train in KC, she can practice with a team locally.
Skylar will be able to still play for her high school team in the spring, but given the fall schedule with FCKC, she has decided not to keep playing competitively for Elkhorn Soccer Club, whom she’s been with since she was 10-year-old. “I’ll miss playing for ESC, but to get to play for this new DA is a great opportunity,” she said. “It’s the path I want to be on for playing in college and maybe even beyond.”
Skylar’s parents are fully supportive of the commitment required to get her to KC for practice each week. “It’s the path she really wants to be on, and soccer has been so good for her,” Amy said. “It’s made her more assertive as a person, and the environment allows for increased technical ability with soccer. It’s all just a good fit.”