Athlete of the week: Sophomore Karley Perry is a force to be reckoned with on the soccer pitch

Published 8:30 am Saturday, May 6, 2023

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Karley Perry is just halfway through her career as a LaGrange girls soccer player but has already reached the upper echelon of Granger soccer players as she continues to perfect her craft.

The dynamite forward/winger has everything you need up front — tenacity, pace, and of course, a killer instinct in front of goal. 

“I don’t even know how to describe the feeling when I score,” Perry said. “It’s special to celebrate those with my teammates.”

This is a feeling she was familiar with a ton this season, leading the Grangers in goals with 26.

There is so much more to her game than just goals. She was the team leader in assists this season as well with 12. Her unselfish play on the field is just one of the many aspects that makes her stand out from most athletes her age. Perry is a true team first player. That does not mean she cannot take over a game in a moment’s notice. Her sensational game against, ironically named, Perry was surely among one of the best performances from a Granger soccer player in playoff history.

She diced the Perry defense, scoring a hat trick and providing an assist to power the Grangers to their first elite eight appearance since 2017.

“That game was so much fun,” Perry said. “I had so much adrenaline going. I went into the playoff games this year with a really good mindset and felt like I was better prepared for them, and I feel like I was playing at my best.”

She forms a formidable attacking duo with junior Sam Cottle. The two have been playing together so long that a natural partnership has formed at LaGrange. 

“Sam and I are really close, and I feel like I know what she wants to do and she knows what I want to do on the field,” Perry said. “She also plays on the same club team as me (AFC Lightning) and that has helped us grow closer too. We are now able to read each other really well when we are on the field together. That connection we have made really helps out the team up top.”

Perry was not always a natural goal scorer. She started at defense and has slowly moved her way up the pitch over the years to where she now finds herself as a dangerous threat up front. 

Last year, she was a freshman phenom, bursting onto the scene. This year she did not have the luxury of being a breakthrough player. All eyes from the opponents were on Perry and trying to find a way to slow her down. It had little effect as Perry elevated her game to new heights this season despite more attention on her when she laced up her cleats and took the field.

When she is not suiting up with Granger blue and white, she is playing travel soccer or working with LaGrange soccer royalty and current assistant principal Keita Placide, who helps her perfect her craft. Perry says that Placide has helped her make tremendous strides when it comes to her technical ability on the soccer pitch. 

Soccer is not something that runs in the family but something she found on her own. In her youth, she played soccer and did gymnastics, but her heart always called her to the soccer pitch.

“I have always loved the competitiveness of it,” Perry said. “I like going out there and competing on the same field as other people. I also like to run (laughs).”

Perry’s sophomore soccer season has wrapped, but she is just getting started with the Grangers. As she continues to grow, all eyes will be on no. 2 in blue and white next season.