Summit High School soccer star commits to Milwaukee’s Mount Mary University

Summit High School soccer star commits to Milwaukee’s Mount Mary University

After three Summit High School student athletes committed to playing their sports at the collegiate level in February, March began with dual-sport athlete Kelley Duffy committing to play women’s soccer at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Duffy made the commitment official Thursday, March 9, when she signed her national letter of intent to Mount Mary University in front of family, friends and teammates in the Summit High School library. 

“It feels amazing,” Duffy said. “ Every time I think about it, it makes me smile. It makes me happy to think about, and I am excited for my next chapters.”

Like most collegiate athletes, Duffy’s soccer journey began when she was quite young.

“I first began playing soccer when I was about 3 years old,” Duffy said. “Kind of just kicking the ball around at my house and playing with my parents. I loved the soccer ball and knew I wanted to play it.”

After puttering around with a soccer ball at her feet as a toddler, Duffy continued to be raised in Summit County and grew her soccer skills. Around the sixth grade, Duffy said her eyes were opened to the world of soccer after high school.

“It was when we had to decide what we were going to do after high school that I saw all the opportunities that we have, and I decided that I wanted to play soccer,” Duffy said. “It became my goal and dream.”

Kelley Duffy, center, smiles for a photo alongside Summit High School head girls soccer coach Jotwan Daniels, left, and her parents on Thursday, March 9. On Thursday, Duffy signed her letter of intent to Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she will continue to play soccer.
Cody Jones/Summit Daily News

From that moment forward, Duffy became a true student of the game and a well-rounded student in the classroom.

When she wasn’t doing school work, prepping for soccer or working her feet on the soccer pitch, Duffy lended her hands to the Summit girls basketball team and helped the Tigers to make the playoffs in both 2021 and 2022.

Duffy injected the Summit girls basketball team with intensity and athleticism, but she also provided leadership to the team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. During her junior and senior basketball seasons, Duffy was known for snuffing out opponents’ leading scorers and scrounging for points or steals. 

Head girls soccer coach Jotwan Daniels vividly remembers seeing Duffy play soccer for the first time when she was a freshman. At the time, Daniels had not yet been named the head coach of the Summit girls soccer program, but he was teaching within Summit High School.

“It was like the end of the day in the turf gym, and there was something about this one that stood out — crushing the boys, eating them up,” Daniels said at Duffy’s official signing party. “It was fun to see it come full circle now. That was the moment when I said I have something special in this one.”

After Duffy’s spring 2020 season got unexpectedly canceled due to COVID-19, she became a fixture of the Summit girls soccer roster and has served as a captain for the team over the last two years. 

Similar to the arc of the Summit girls basketball program in the last four years, Duffy and the rest of the senior class has helped to transform the girls soccer program from a team struggling to win a few games to a viable threat in the 4A Western Slope league.

“It has been so amazing. I love all the seniors that I play with,” Duffy said of the soccer program’s improvement. “We have so much fun together, and we all support another no matter the age or skill level.”

Summit High School captain Kelley Duffy, left, works to keep the ball in play during a home game against Steamboat Springs on March 29, 2022.
Elaine Collins/Courtesy photo

Duffy says she picked Mount Mary University as her new home because of the connection she felt with the team’s coaches and the women’s team.

“The first thing that stood out to me was definitely the coaches,” Duffy said. “He reached out to me and he was full of life, full of energy. He seemed like he wanted me to come there. More than some other coaches I was talking to. I got to do a zoom call with the team and they were all positive and welcoming.”

Mount Mary University plays at the Division III level and competes in the Northern Athletic Collegiate Conference. During the 2022 fall soccer season, head coach John Baillie and Mount Mary Blue Angels recorded a record of 0-13-5.

Beyond Duffy’s excitement for college soccer, the senior is also looking forward to living in a city after growing up in the tight-knit, small Summit County community.

“I am looking forward to being in the city,” Duffy said. “Also having those Great Lakes to go see.”

Kelley Duffy poses for a photo with her Summit High School girls soccer teammates on Thursday, March 9.
Cody Jones/Summit Daily News

Ultimately, Duffy realizes that her sixth-grade dream became real because of an unwavering level of belief in herself and from her support system.

“Never give up,” Duffy said of actualizing her dream. “There are going to be some hard moments definitely, but sticking with it and really going back to why you love the sport. Play for your younger self.”

Duffy and the Summit girls soccer team will begin the spring soccer season on Thursday, March 16, when the Tigers host Palisade High School at 4 p.m.

Duffy will graduate from Summit High School in the spring and attend Mount Mary University in the fall of 2023. Duffy is undecided on a major at this time, but is leaning towards pursuing a degree in exercise science.

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