ROCK SPRINGS — Rock Springs High School senior Rylee Berry signed her national letter of intent on Monday to continue her soccer career at Laramie County Community College. Berry has been an anchor on defense for the Lady Tigers soccer program and will join a very reputable LCCC team.
Berry will be a defensive weapon for the Golden Eagles. She hopes to be used as a center back, but will be satisfied with any position that she is asked to play.
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Gillette College was another team heavily interested in Berry and Metropolitan State University was the other possible destination. However, she couldn’t see herself wearing any other jersey color other than blue and gold. When the offer came, she couldn’t hold back her excitement.
“I was ecstatic to get that offer from LCCC. I’ve always known what they bring to the table,” Berry said.
Berry will join her new team during the offseason and prepare herself for her first season in the fall of 2020.
From Love to Passion
Like many three-year-olds, Berry took to the soccer field at a young age. Growing up, her participation in the Rock Springs Soccer Association league planted a seed that soon grew into a deep-rooted passion for the sport. By the time she was nine-years-old, the energetic soccer enthusiast found part of her identity.
“It hit me early,” Berry said. “I really found a love for the sport, and then I found a passion and I realized it was something I wanted to pursue and continue doing through college and as long as I could play, even professionally, it’s a dream of mine.”
As she graduated on to different soccer programs through junior high and high school, she found that she grew the most as an athlete and person with her club and current high school teams. Among the most influential people in her soccer career are coaches Hector Guzman and Stephen Pyer.
“Hector actually was the first coach that pushed me to be better. He made me the person I am today,” Berry said. “Pyer came in and influenced me and pushed me to be better. Both of them are the best coaches I’ve ever had and have influenced me to become the player that I am today.”
Throughout her high school career, Berry earned all-state and all-conference awards her sophomore and junior years. As a member of the Lady Tigers soccer team, she helped Rock Springs through an incredible season last spring. The Lady Tigers went on a 19-game win streak and only gave up three goals as a defense. Rock Springs ended up with a 20-1 record on the season.
Berry’s historic success continued into last summer where her and two high school teammates made headlines after taking third place in the U17 Girls US National Cup in Denver, Colorado as members of the High Plains Select soccer club.
Soccer has given Berry much more than she ever imagined. Life skills like leadership will always be cherished as she moves forward through life.
“It’s given me a lot of leadership skills,” Berry said. “I’ve learned to be a really good leader and I’ll carry that throughout the rest of my life and continue to push myself. It’s given me a really good work ethic. I’ve always pushed to be the best player whether that’s through pain, adversity, anything.”
Staring Down Adversity
While Berry’s success on the field throughout her high school career have been nothing short of spectacular, her time has been cut short due to a torn knee. While playing with the Rock Springs Avengers club team during Thanksgiving break in Las Vegas, Nev., she suffered a torn MCL, ACL and meniscus during one of the games.
“I planted on it (knee) and went to turn and fell over. Everything tore,” Berry said.
The injury will sideline Berry from her senior year with the Lady Tigers. As disappointing as the situation may be, Berry has counted her blessings and kept a positive outlook on her future. She is expected to make a full recovery by August 2020. For now, she’ll focus on putting in the necessary rehab work.
“I’m excited to work towards being a better player, honestly, and working through the adversity, especially now,” Berry said. “Playing for a new team, finding a new groove, playing for a new coach, all of that, I’m really looking forward to everything.”