Herald Photo / Dean Hockney
ONWARD  — Eastern High School’s Abby Kolk signs with St. Francis to play soccer.
Herald Photo / Dean Hockney ONWARD — Eastern High School’s Abby Kolk signs with St. Francis to play soccer.
Abby Kolk loves soccer, whether it is playing for the Eastern Comets, the Indiana ODP State Team, or the Kokomo Soccer Club. 

Last month, the Comet senior added a new team to the list for when she signed a letter of intent to continue her career at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne. The Academic All-State honorable mention selection said the choice of St. Francis came easily.

“I am excited to go to St. Francis,” she said “The campus is beautiful, and I love the coach. We hit it off right away. I have family in Ft. Wayne, so I go up there a lot. I am just looking forward to it.”

The future exercise science and physical therapy major said it did not hurt that her grandmother is a graduate of USF.

“I also have family in Fort Wayne, so I will be able to spend a lot of time with them now,” she said. “My grandma is a USF grad and she talked me into considering USF. I’m very happy I listened to her because USF is the right fit for me on and off the field. I am very excited to continue my education and soccer career at Saint Francis.”

The three-year Comet starter had a solid career, including playing midfield in the 2015 and 2016 East vs. South Elite All-Star Game. The Eastern captain is a member of the National Honor Society, a regular on the honor roll and led her basketball and soccer team in grade point average. It is those smarts that attracted USF head coach Christy Young.

“She came out on a visit and trained with us, which is always nice. She just played simple and smart; she didn’t try to do too much – she played smart and made good decisions,” said Young, who will enter her 10th season with the Cougars. “She is really comfortable with the ball. She will learn a lot and develop in her first year. It is a completely different ball game. She really embraced USF and the team when she visited. This next year will be interesting – we had nine seniors and six starters graduate. Every year, we are competitive, and we set the bar high.”

Looking back on her four years at Eastern, Kolk said she will miss the camaraderie she had with her teammates.

“The team was close all four years,” she said. “We had fun every game, and that was a win in itself. I like the team aspect of soccer. You have to rely on people. My junior year, we made it to the sectional championship – that really stood out to me.”

Eastern head coach Phil Williams said Kolk is a natural on the field.

“Abi is one of those rare talents who can do a lot of things on the field,” he said. “You can put her wherever you want, and she will know what to do – and that is how we used her. She loves the game and has a passion for it. She has really good footwork. She took almost all of our free kicks. She is a leader and could help get players into the right positions.”

Williams also thinks his former star will adjust to the college game quickly.

“She will do extremely well in college,” said Williams. “The college game is quicker, but I think she will adjust well.”