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Three sports remained constant in the first 13 years of Emma Klein’s life: basketball, lacrosse and soccer. But after making the Amherst Central (New York) High School varsity soccer team in eighth grade, the sport started to “click” for her, she said.
As the youngest player on her varsity team, Klein started in every game, including the 2016 sectional championship. The five-year varsity center back has earned all-county honors in the Erie County Interscholastic Conference every year since 2017. Now, Klein is preparing for her freshman year at Syracuse, a team in which two of the four defenders from the 2020 season are graduating.
“I’ve been coaching for 24 years, and I’ve never had an Emma Klein,” said JoAnna Fildes, Klein’s high school coach in all three sports. “I’ll probably never have another Emma Klein in my time as coach.”
Klein, who finished with over 1,000 points in her five-year basketball career at Amherst Central, played basketball and lacrosse all throughout high school to take a break away from soccer and maintain her endurance in the offseason, she said. The overlap between the skills needed for all three sports helped her excel, she said. The extra sports help improve her agility, movement, speed, power and thought process.
In 10th grade, Klein decided to stick with soccer because she had more freedom playing on the soccer field than she did with the other sports she played.
“You’re able to be more creative on the field with soccer,” Klein said. “How large the field is, how much you get to run, being outdoors, all really drew me to the sport.”
I’ve been coaching for 24 years, and I’ve never had an Emma Klein. I’ll probably never have another Emma Klein in my time as coach.
JoAnna Fildes, Klein’s high school coach
Anna Costello, Klein’s club teammate, said Klein can be shy at times, but her shy nature can be valuable on the field at center back. She prefers to stay quiet during games to make calculated decisions as the anchor of the defense.
“I think the best word to describe her is a beast, honestly,” Costello said. “Everyone fights for her to be on your team at practice, everyone wants her because you know that you’ll win.”
Klein has been reliable since eighth grade, Fildes said, and “she’s the complete student athlete.” While Klein’s skill level has improved over the last six years at Amherst Central, Klein has worked specifically on her strength, which can help her at SU.
Fildes said Klein’s calculated style of play at center back will translate to a competitive college landscape, and she’s “continuing to grow.” Klein will be one of nine incoming freshmen on the team this fall, but Fildes expects her to join the starting lineup for Syracuse in the upcoming season.
“Emma always loves a challenge,” Fildes said. “She has the confidence to do it. She is a student of the game.”
Published on May 10, 2021 at 10:30 pm
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