MEAD — Having helped build one of Colorado's fastest growing prep programs, Mead girls soccer player Maddie Kessler is headed to the state's newest collegiate women's soccer team.
On Wednesday, the Mavericks senior standout signed her national letter of intent to play for the Colorado State University Rams next fall. The local product is staying local.
"I've been looking at them since I first started," Kessler said. "I went to some of their camps and I've always really liked their coaching staff. Bill Hempen has sort of always been my dream coach, plus I get to stay in Colorado. I'm really excited to help start something new."
Kessler will join the program this fall for its fourth season under head coach Bill Hempen, who has also coached the Duke and University of Colorado women's soccer programs. Colorado State (3-15-2, 0-10-1 Mountain West in 2015), which played its first varsity season in 2013, graduated five seniors after the most recent campaign.
In her time at Mead, Kessler was named Times-Call Girls Soccer Player of the Year as a freshman in 2013. She scored 15 goals that season and netted 19 goals in 14 games as a sophomore. Forgoing her junior prep season, Kessler focused on playing for her club team, the Colorado Storm in the Elite Clubs National League, because it provided her better development and exposure opportunities.
"Maddie is a great kid and she deserves everything she's getting," Mead head coach Mike Schulz said. "She has worked hard. Soccer is her passion, she has done everything she could to get better and now she's being rewarded for that."
Kessler, who expects to play her senior season for the Mavericks (4-9-2 in 2015), joins Mead graduate Haiden De Jane (South Carolina, equestrian in 2012) and current senior Bree Boruff (Nebraska, softball) as the first female athletes to sign with Division-I programs since the school opened its doors in 2009.
"It's really exciting," Kessler said. "Mead is a new school so it's great to be one of the girls to help put Mead on the map and show the younger athletes that it doesn't matter what size school you go to, it matter how hard you work."
Kessler also considered College of Charleston and Washington State.
Sydney Boaz, softball, Baker University
Maddie Kessler, soccer, Colorado State University
Bree Boruff, softball, Nebraska
Makayla Morton, volleyball, Kansas Wesleyan
Gunner Pickett, baseball, Northeastern Junior College
Natasha Quintana, softball, Bethany College