ABILENE, Texas — From her hometown in Highland Village, Texas, senior soccer player Kenne Kessler has brought nothing but cheer to Hardin-Simmons by showing her hard work and dedication for her sport and her team. Named one of the four captains last year, her game was proven to improve each year, and now HSU is excited to announce that the Cowgirl has signed a professional contract to play with the Spanish soccer club Villarreal CF.
"This opportunity means a lot to me because it has been something I worked for and dreamed about for a long time. It is every little soccer player's dream to one day get to travel the world and play the sport they love," says Kessler.
"In her time at HSU, she led us to four straight ASC Championships, four straight NCAA Sweet 16’s and a trip to the NCAA Final 4 in 2017. She is a very special competitor," says HSU women's soccer coach, Marcus Wood.
Kessler's future team is ranked second place in their division. If they get first or second place in the secondtier division, Villarreal will get promoted to league the top league, called La Liga. The peason in Spain is halfway over, so the Cowgirl will be joining them mid-season. With her new team, Kenne will compete with the most notable teams in the country.
"My future plans with Spain are to go finish the season with Villareal and figure out if the atmosphere and style fit my personality, and if it does, I plan to pursue another contract to continue to play," says Kessler.
The big opportunity came when Kessler traveled over the Christmas break to Spain to try out with several teams. In one of the games, Kenne’s team played against Levante which is near the top of La Liga. They lost 3-2, but Kessler scored both goals. After the tryouts, the coach of Villarreal CF contacted her and arranged to sign a professional contract.
Besides playing for the Texas Spurs soccer team, Kessler played an essential role in HSU's purple and gold team. "HSU definitely gave me the tools to achieve this by teaching me so much about teamwork, hard work and most importantly perseverance," she says.
She scored 84 goals in 89 games and had 37 assists for HSU. In that period, she was awarded All-American of the Year twice.
"I am very proud of Kenne. It took courage. She believed in herself and earned a wonderful opportunity," says Wood.
Kessler graduates this semester and looks forward to the new opportunities in the future. With a major in biology, she worked hard to be a student-athlete at Hardin-Simmons. Besides being a competitor, Kessler knows how to keep up with school.
"Kenne is driven, motivated, hardworking and resilient. She has a 4.0 GPA and has twice been the Player of the Year for the Academic All-American team. All of her success is a result of hard work," says Coach Wood.
As a competitor, Kessler learned to build her own way and work for what she loves doing.
"The best advice I was given was plain and simple, 'prove them wrong,'" she says. "People will constantly doubt you no matter what you do or achieve so instead of letting them get in your head use that as motivation the next time you step into competition."
Courtesy HSU Communications