Talking Soccer with Kayla Sharples

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Kayla Sharples kicks off The Morning Show and joins host, Stefan Holt, to discuss her love of a variety of team sports and how she decided to pursue soccer professionally fairly late in her athletic career.

Playing at Northwestern

Kayla Sharples is a defender for the Chicago Red Stars. Originally from Naperville, Sharples attended Naperville North High School and played in her freshman year on the 2012 IHSA state championship soccer team. She went on to play soccer at Northwestern University. As a Wildcat she led Northwestern to a program-best four-straight NCAA Tournament appearances and started in every match over four years. Her 86-straight start streak was second-best in program history.

In 2019, Kayla was drafted by her hometown team, the Chicago Red Stars. She was the first player ever to be drafted in Northwestern Women’s Soccer history. In addition to playing for the Red Stars, Sharples has played for clubs in Finland and, most recently, in Australia with Adelaide United FC. As a center back for the Red Stars this year, and prior to her injury, Sharples was winning 80 percent of the tackles she made, and connecting on 83 percent of her total passes. On her off days, Sharples can sometimes be heard calling soccer games on the BIG Ten Network, including for her alma mater Northwestern University.

“Focus On Your Own Journey”

Kayla describes the sacrifices made during her high school career, missing out on fun and events other teenage girls often enjoyed while she spent most weekends away for games and tournaments.

When asked what advice she would give her 8-year-old self, Sharples said, “Don’t compare yourself to other people.  Focus on your own journey.  Find your ‘why’ and what motivates you and for me, I love this game. I find joy in it and I need to remind myself when I’m going through the hardships and overcoming those adversities to find that joy.”

Featured in NSW

Sharples was featured in several Naperville Sports Weekly stories, including when she was drafted to the Red Stars and a Where Are They Now? feature story.