116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - Delaney Holtey has tried other sports. There's just something different, something special about soccer, the sport she started playing when she was 3.
'I just fell in love with the whole process,” said Holtey, a senior at Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
It's no coincidence the sport that won out with her is all about team.
Those individual workouts last spring, when the world shut down and the Iowa high school season was canceled, they weren't for her.
'I feel in a team sport, everyone thrives off of doing things with the team,” Holtey said. 'When you're doing things individually for that long, it can get very ... repeated.”
Luckily, after another fall playing for the Iowa Rush club team, Holtey is back with her Kennedy teammates this spring as they prepare for a 2021 season that is scheduled to kick off April 8. The last time she was in a Cougars uniform was a bit of a struggle, at least statistically, as she scored two goals during a 2019 campaign in which Kennedy went 7-6. That was coming off an 11-3 season that saw her lead the team with 11 goals as a freshman from her attacking position.
Four months after the end of her first high school season, she committed to her future team at the University of Iowa.
'The team and the family-like atmosphere at Iowa is absolutely phenomenal,” Holtey said.
That's what soccer is for Holtey. Eleven players on the field, more on the sideline, working toward a common goal as one unit.
'She could have been a captain as a freshman, just by her work ethic,” Kennedy Coach Annie Welsh said. 'She really demands attention on the field, just the way she plays. That just brings the level up of everybody else on the field.”
Responsibility and maturity are lessons Holtey learned young. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 7.
'It's just a part of everyday life,” Holtey said. 'It never really leaves your side. I'm thankful it happened, because I've definitely matured in ways I don't think I would've gotten if I wouldn't have been diagnosed. I know that it happened to me because I can take care of myself.”
Welsh has seen Holtey's dedication to her health help her become an even better player and leader. For Holtey, that's involved working with her parents and team of doctors to learn more and incorporate new technology into her exercise and recovery.
'I know my body well enough to sit there and say, ‘this is good and that's not so good for me,'” Holtey said.
Part of what's good for her is being with a team, helping cultivate a successful environment. Truman State commit Olivia Bryner, Kalyn Scherbring, Jayden Wood, Amanda Williams, Amani Dorsey and Allison Hubbell join Holtey as veteran leaders. Kennedy made 11 state tournament trips from 2006 to 2017 but now the program, like so many others this spring, is incorporating twice as many new faces as a typical year. Holtey mentioned 'communication” multiple times when talking about the team's goals this year.
It's what she missed out on last spring, what individual workouts can't provide and what has been tough to come by during a socially-distanced school year.
'I love helping push the girls,” Holtey said. 'I appreciate when the girls are pushing me.”
'You can see that confidence as she plays and you can see it on the sidelines and you can see it when she walks into a room,” Welsh said. 'She knows where she's at and she knows what she can do. It's now putting it to the field and inspiring others to do the same is what we're asking her to do this year.”
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