PREP SOCCER: ‘It’s incredibly heartwarming to be a part of a school like West Point’: Kyli Armistead reflects on Warrior years

West Point’s Kyli Armstead. (Courtesy of Kyli Armstead)

WEST POINT, Ala. — In this interview, I talked to West Point soccer player, Kyli Armistead. She made so many great memories during her soccer career and played alongside some great teammates. She took away so much from her coach, Rob Whitesell, as well.

“Reviewing our soccer games on film is one of the funniest times I shared with my team. As we sort through our rights and wrongs of the game, we also like to poke fun at each other. The girls bring a lot of personality to each and every practice as well. After away games, the team usually takes a trip to a yummy restaurant nearby. The girls have a ton of fun every time. After some easy, but missed, goals our coach labeled it the ‘Warrior Way’. Ever since then, we would pick our heads up after missing a shot to laugh about the ‘Warrior Way’. That reminded us that we are human, and we learned not to take things so seriously.”

She added,

“It was honestly easier to enhance my passion with the girls on my team. Some days, I felt so exhausted and the thought of having practice after school felt too much for me, but they pushed me to try harder and always had me in a better mood. Coach Whitesell has a realistic mindset and a heart of gold. He showed a great effort to prepare for our home games and made sure the team was taken care of. Even through mistakes, he would not only let the girls know what went wrong, but also managed to still be able to laugh the little things off with us. With that, he taught me that soccer was more than winning- it was to have fun and push yourself to be your best self and to attempt full achievement with no excuses.”

Kyli was a part of some great clubs at West Point and was around some great people during her time in those clubs.

“I was in the Beta Club and the Spanish Club. The Beta Club taught me to apply my abilities to upkeep the giving nature of the community. Being in the Spanish Club gave learning a language more meaning. I was able to learn about the culture as well. Being around students with high nobility encouraged me to strive for the greatest in academics and morals. I learned self-discipline, which helps with prioritizing education and being a good person overall.”

Kyli talked about her favorite high school memories, what made West Point a special place to go to, and what she will miss the most.

“Prom and winter formal were two events that I was the most excited to be a part of. My classmates are hilarious, and they really made those nights special to me. Our soccer team also hosted our inaugural tournament, which was a lot of fun and new. Honorable mentions are Halloween and homecoming. I had a pretty happy high school experience,” she said. “Before my experience at West Point, I went to a bigger school, where I felt like I didn’t belong. Even though West Point was smaller in comparison, it was more united. The community was far more friendly and welcoming. I will miss my friends the most and many of my teachers as well.”

Kyli remembers so much about being a Warrior, including a time where they united to help one of their teachers, who was going through a tough time in her life.

“The people I’m closest with have really impacted my life and well-being, whether they know it or not. The teachers are incredibly caring and smart. My friends mean a lot to me and are probably the biggest step-up from my past school. At West Point, there is a huge crowd that always looks out for you. You can’t find that quality everywhere. I’ll remember how that crowd united to support one of our beloved teachers, Mrs. Drummond (school mom), as she navigated through the loss of a child that was in my grade. I couldn’t imagine what her and family were going through, but I saw her community engulf her in love and support. It’s incredibly heartwarming to be a part of a school like West Point.”

Kyli gave some advice to the upcoming freshmen and talked about a couple of role models that she feels blessed to have in her life.

“My advice to them is to get it done. Procrastination is a heavy weight on your shoulders. Rest is also important, though, so take it easy if needed,” she said. “I adore Sydney Carpentier. She was a senior as well and she is incredibly reliable and kind. She guided me through experiences that she was also experiencing. She was the ‘team mom’ of our soccer team for a reason. She will have your back, so it was a great time to have her as one of my best friends. My mom was a great person to look up to as well. If one word could best describe her, it would be hardworking. She is a single mother who devotes herself to her two kids. I’m lucky to have her and lucky to have a healthy and determined mindset to learn from.”

Kyli shared some great advice that she got from her mom.

“Don’t be rude, because you never know what could be happening in someone’s private life,” she said. “I received the Graduate Advantage Scholarship from Wingate and the Gamecock Achievement Scholarship from JSU. Getting those scholarships felt well-deserved. I worked hard my entire high school career. I’m also very thankful that it paid off.”

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