HS Student Athlete Profile: SA LEE Davis Kelly

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SA LEE Senior Defender is a force of nature on the pitch, part of the UIL 6A State Championship team in 2021. He is also a leader as team captain. Family has been a big part of soccer and with the mentorship of his coaches, Davis has a bright future ahead.

Get to know: Davis Kelly

How old were you when you started playing soccer and what was the first team
or club you played for?

I started playing as soon as I was able to walk. I am the
youngest of 5 and all my siblings played. One of my first memories was breaking
our family grandfather clock inside the house with a soccer ball. I got in heaps of
trouble, but I still played inside everyday. The first team I played for was NEYSO,
which was coached by Brandon Rodriguez. Coach Brandon fostered my love for
the game and recognized potential in me that I didn’t realize I had. I still keep in
contact with him and owe a lot of my success to him.

Who is your mentor or biggest influence when it comes to playing soccer?

My biggest influence when it comes to soccer has to be my mom. My biggest
influence and motivator in life, too. She flips her world upside down to watch me
play or drive me to practice. She spends her hard earned money on overpriced
cleats and expensive club seasons. Countless amounts of her time and money
both have been dedicated to me so I can play the best sport on the planet. When
I get tired in a game I push through just like my mom always has. It is all for her.

Who is your favorite player and why?

My favorite player has to be N’golo Kante. He has such skill to where it seems
like he is calm on the ball no matter the situation. He is of short stature but has
one of the biggest presences on the field among the best in the world. I model
my game after him and the greatest compliment I get from my teammates is
when they tell me “You play like Kante”.

Who is your favorite team?

My favorite team is Chelsea. Ever since I was a young boy my brothers supported
Chelsea, so I hopped on the bandwagon. My favorite player, Kante, also plays there.

Chelsea celebrating a goal. Photo by Eurosport

Besides playing your primary position; is there any other position you play?

I play either holding mid or right back depending on the situation. As long as I am
playing, I will play anywhere. I have always been a defensive player.

Photo by Soy SAF

What has been some of the keys to your and LEE boys soccer team success this

The keys to this season have been similar to the keys that allowed for
our success in the past few seasons. Working harder than everyone else, loving
your teammates as family, and maintaining a competitive training environment .
This year more than ever I have realized that every person on the team is family.
We all love each other and I am confident that sort of culture will remain
instilled in the team for years to come. We always emphasize that every single
person, whether you play 80 or none at all, plays a role that you must perform to
the best of your ability.

What was the overall experience like winning the UIL 6A State Championship last

Winning the state championship was a great feeling. It was a feeling of
finally completing a job that took many years. It wasn’t just the 22 players on our
roster, it was for those that years before got so close. After years of hard work,
we finally got to lift that trophy, a true accomplishment nobody will ever take
from us.

What are your plans after high school? Are you planning to play in college or go
pro in the future?

I am committed to play soccer for 4 more years at William
Peace University in Raleigh, North Carolina. I plan on majoring in Exercise
Science or Biology and attending Physicians Assistant School after graduation at
WPU. I hope to work in orthopedics / sports medicine so I can stay within the
community I love so much. I take refereeing just as seriously as I do playing. I am
working towards obtaining my Regional Referee license by the end of 2022,
which will get me on the radar of organizations like the Professional Referee
Organization (PRO). Once I hang up the boots after college, I plan on devoting all of my free time to reffing and taking it as far as I can.

Have you played at club or academy level? If so, what was your experience like
playing for a club?

I have always been involved in club soccer. I played for San
Antonio FC in the Developmental Academy for 2.5 years, part of the initial 2004
team. I enjoyed my time at SAFC and learned many lessons from Coach Nick
Evans. San Antonio FC was an extremely organized organization, one that I will
forever be proud to associate myself with. After my departure from San Antonio
FC I played for Classics Elite Soccer Academy on the 04 ECNL team. I have made
lifelong friends and developed many parts of my game at CE. I love all the
coaching staff and am forever grateful to Coach Kevin Rule and Eric Johnson to
provide me with an opportunity to grow as a leader and player.

What advice would you give kids and underclassman looking to play Varsity High
School soccer?

My advice to any athlete is to focus on the little things. Obviously,
you need to master the fundamentals and provide a good foundation for yourself,
but at the highest levels it is the little things that set you apart. Between two
good teams and 22 different players, the difference in skill level between the
best player and the worst player on the pitch isn’t really going to be all that
noticeable. What is noticeable is who works the hardest and who never gives up.
Think about what sets you apart, what are you doing to widen that gap between
you and the player next to you because I guarantee that player wants your spot.
Your teammates are your family, but at the same time you always have to have
that desire to be in the 11 and stay there. Do what it takes in training and in
games to solidify that spot.

What is your pregame ritual? Do you have a favorite song, meal or other thing
you do prior to a game?

I don’t really have a specific pre game ritual. I like to eat
a good breakfast, usually eggs that come straight from my 5 chickens that I have
in my backyard who I love to death. Staying hydrated and focused throughout the
day is important as well. When you wake up on game day there should only be
one thing on your mind. I am a firm believer in socializing with my teammates
and being a clown, but once you get on the bus to the stadium social time is over.
It is time to get locked in and realize that you are going to war. Play for the guy
next to you and celebrate like mad men on the way home.

What are some important lessons and advice you have learned from your High
School Soccer coach?

I truly believe LEE has the best coaching staff in town.
Coach Rogers has a reputation of success that nobody can argue with. With 3
different state championships, it is clear that he is the common denominator.
Coach has taught me a lot. I have spent more time with him in the past 4 years
than I have most of my family, and as a result I have learned countless lessons
from him. One thing I admire about him is his ability to tell you how it is. Too
many coaches want to sugarcoat things and keep everybody happy all the time. If
you aren’t giving it your all , coach will tell you. If you are great, coach will tell
you. Nothing gets done if you are trying to be nice all the time. This caught me a
little off guard my freshman year, but I quickly realized that Coach Rogers has
nothing but our best interests rooted deep in his heart. Another thing I
appreciate is his ability to treat everyone with respect. Rogers believes in hard
work and will give anyone a shot if they don’t take shortcuts. Coach Rogers has
had the most impact on me among all the coaches I have been around. He is truly
a great person who cares about his team and I wouldn’t trade him for anyone. I
also want to mention our Assistant Coach, Chris Troilo. Troilo had big shoes to fill
after the departure of our past assistant, Coach Perez, who is now running a very
respectable program at Alamo Heights. Coach Troilo is the definition of a
motivator. He always knows what to say at the right time to keep us going. Coach
Troilo taught me that being a well rounded person is more important than
anything. I would have never expected him to be a literature loving English
teacher based on his personality on the field, but that’s just how versatile his
skill set is. He is a jack of all trades and a man that commands respect from all
with ease. Like I said earlier, I have learned countless lessons from all of my
coaches here at LEE. I am very grateful and look forward to maintaining my
relationships with each of them.

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