Rediscovering Joy in the Game
Kyra Scott overcomes the pressure of expectations and reclaimed her passion for the sport.
On the field, Kyra Scott is hard to miss, and her goal-kick is hard to catch.
"She had the big game-winning goal at our state semifinal from 40 yards out as a defender," said her coach, Michale Blair. He said it with excitement and pride. "She rocked it over the keeper's head, and it was pretty awesome."
Her speed, physicality, and defensive skills make her a force for any opposition.
"She basically stopped the other team's best player every time in the playoffs," Blair said of his defender. "She took that and saw that as a badge of honor."
Yet, her longtime club and high school coach, Michael Blair, noticed something more brewing under the surface with Kyra.
"She has this quiet confidence and strength that I think she brings with her. She needs to realize that people do look to her as a leader – just from her presence," observed Blair. "I hope she finds a good way to utilize that and impact others."
Kyra hinted at the origins of her grounded character.
She did this while explaining her early entry into soccer. "Since I was little, my family played soccer for fun. I grew up in Turkey, so all the neighborhood kids would go out and play, and my brothers and I joined them. I also played AYSO summer soccer for many years, which also grew my interest in the sport.
"The thing I like the most about soccer is the team, mainly because I love the girls I play with," Kyra said. "I also love soccer because I love playing sports involving a group of people coming together and working together to win."
The rich experiences of Kyra's abroad upbringing fed her maturity. "When I was eight months old, I moved to Turkey and back to Flagstaff seven years later," Kyra revealed.
Maturity aside, Blair highlighted Kyra's mental toughness and resilience.
“She rises to any challenges on the field,” Coach Blair said. “She did whatever we asked of her. She was a passionate leader. We could count on her. She was consistent and accountable. Her teammates and coaches knew exactly what we would get every time."
Overcoming obstacles means battling external and internal pressures.
"A challenge I had to overcome was always wanting to please my coaches,” she said. “Since freshman year, I always wanted their approval. It messed up the way I played. I was constantly trying to do what they said. I stopped just enjoying the game and playing soccer because I love the sport. I overcame this challenge by putting their voices further back and not letting them be the reason I played."
Her journey taught her a lesson she wants to share with younger players on the team.
"I would tell someone starting in soccer to have fun and enjoy the sport," she said. "Don't let someone else's voice define who you are."
This mindset aligns with one of Kyra's most important principles of never giving up because growth is always on the other side.
"Just because something is hard doesn't mean you have to quit," she said. "The hardest thing about soccer is trying to be a perfect player when I am most definitely not perfect. This has taught me that mistakes are OK. Mistakes are more than OK because they help me grow in areas I haven't had time to work on or areas I'm still learning."
Letting go of expectations seems to have unlocked Kyra's pure passion for soccer once more.
"This season meant a lot to me because I finally found my love and passion for the sport again,” Kyra said. “Winning the state championship was really rewarding because I put my heart into this soccer season and finally saw the team come together. It was amazing!"
Blair has high hopes for Kyra's next chapter. He said, "For her, I hope she finds a place after high school that fits her well and a place that sees her potential."
Wherever that may lead for Kyra, she seems focused on leaving it all the field, sharing memories and life lessons with teammates along the way.
"Years from now, when I look back at this season and my teammates, I hope I never forget the friendships and memories I made. I learned that having a really strong community around me shaped me as a person and made me better – emotionally and physically."
In the Words of Kyra Scott:
- "I grew up in Turkey, so all the neighborhood kids would go out and play, and my brothers and I joined them."
- "I love playing sports involving a group of people coming together."
- "Mistakes are more than OK because they help me grow."
- "I overcame [the need for approval] by putting their voices further back."
- "The one principle I live by is: Never give up."
- "Having a really strong community around me shaped me as a person."
In the Words of Coach Michael Blair:
- "She basically stopped the other team's best player every time in the playoffs. She took that and saw that as a badge of honor."
- “She was a leader that was passionate. We could count on her. She was consistent and accountable. Her teammates and coaches knew exactly what we were going to get every time.”
- "She had the big game-winning goal and our state semifinal from 40 yards out."
- "She has this quiet confidence and strength."