Story and Interview by Lindsey Harper (Summit HS/UTChattanooga)
Columbia Sports Photography by JB Brookman (Seniority Photography/CLOUT Magazine)
Rylee Stamatis is a bright, bubbly Senior Center Back who attends Columbia Academy and one of my favorite people that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Not only is she a beast on the Soccer field, but she carries a true and kind heart with her always… She uses her constant love for others, and the game, to form close bonds and intense friendships with her teammates. Rylee uses her drive for Soccer to push her further everyday and looks forward to eventually going to college to pursue her athletic career.
Along with winning over the hearts of her fans, this girl has quite a few honors to her name! She has been voted captain of Lady Arsenal 04 for the past 4 years and voted Most Versatile on her school team. Not only is she an outstanding individual, but Rylee is one piece of an amazing team. Together, they are 2018-2019 state champs, 2018 champions for the Stone River Shootout, 2018 Queen City Finalists, 2018 Battleground Tournament Finalists, 2019 TN Individual Champions, and Finalists for the Select Elite cup in Atlanta. These are only a few of their accomplishments, over the years spent playing together. This girl is certainly going places, and her friends and family couldn’t be more proud of her!
RYLEE STAMATIS 22’
CLOUT: How did you choose soccer?
“Rylee- My dad played soccer in highschool and college, and my sister played , so I was kind of just put into it when I was little.”
CLOUT: Why do you play Soccer? Do you have plans after High School?
“Rylee- I continue to play because it’s just a mind eraser for me. It’s like, when I go on the soccer field and play, I don’t think of anything else, it just kind of clears my mind. And yes, I’m planning to play soccer in college. I have a few options that I’ve been looking at!”
CLOUT: What do you most enjoy about the game?
“Rylee- Probably the relationships you form with girls on the field, which is very different than just a regular friendship”
CLOUT: Did having an older sister playing college soccer (Kaylen Stamatis) push you to want to be better or did you see her more as your competition?
“Rylee- Both I think! She was a goalie, so she was always super competitive. She also would get on to me if I didn’t do something right, or yell at me if I was in the wrong position, which in the long run made me a better player.”
CLOUT: Growing up did you two play together or practice together often?
“We played together when I was really little, then I quit to do cheer, then I played with her again, and then I played one year of school ball with her. After school ball, I branched out and started only playing club.”
CLOUT: Does having a dad with an athletic past, who is now your club coach, intimidate you at all?
“Well, he always pushed me to be better, and he doesn’t treat me like his daughter on the field. It’s more like ‘call me coach Nick, I’m not your dad here,’ so it’s very encouraging to have him as a coach and constantly learn new things from him.”
CLOUT: Who would you say your biggest supporter is?
“All of my family really, but I would have to say my mom and my dad. Even when I played volleyball, and quit recently for soccer and they really supported me with that decision.”
CLOUT: What are some challenges you have faced playing soccer over the years?
“Choosing between volleyball and soccer, because I like them equally, but realizing that I was better at soccer overall. When I first joined a travel team, I was terrible; you could spot me from across the field,I was so bad. I really was challenged by that because I didn’t play a lot and I couldn’t figure out why… well I do know why, because I sucked.”
CLOUT: What goals do you have for your future and how are you preparing for those now?
“As a team we plan to win state again, and then hopefully go to regionals and place in that in the spring. After high school, I plan to go play college soccer, at least at a D2 or D3 level, so I’ve been emailing coaches like crazy, and going to camps and talking [to coaches] there.”
CLOUT: What is the best part about competing?
“Being challenged; it’s always good to have a good team to play against. It’s good to try to push yourself harder, and push your team harder. It just feels really good when you work hard and achieve things [on your own and as a team].”
CLOUT: Do you feel you have formed a special bond with the other girls you play with?
“Rylee- Yes I do! It’s good to see all the different sides of my teammates. In school ball, some open up differently than they would with a comfortable travel team. This team that I’m playing for now, we’ve been playing together for like 3 years, so we are very used to each other and are all very close. We have just learned to trust each other.”
CLOUT: In what ways do you and your other teammates make practice fun?
“We laugh all the time! Girls trip all the time, which makes us laugh. We have nicknames for each other, and we all just get each other. It’s always just one big laugh, especially with all the inside jokes!”
CLOUT: If you were to play in college what is your dream team you would want to play for?
“Rylee- Ok so top two… I’ve been talking to Maryville college in Knoxville, they’re D3, and I’ve communicated with their coach probably the most. I also think it would be really cool to go to Stetson University. I haven’t put much thought into it, but it would be cool because that’s where my dad went! The only thing is that it’s in Florida, so it’s kind of far away from my family.”
JULY 2021 UPDATE: RYLEE IS STILL IN THE THICK OF WEIGHING HER OPTIONS ON WHERE TO PLAY SOCCER AND BE A STUDENT NEXT YEAR…
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