ELIZABETHTOWN - One local athlete's dream of playing NCAA Division I soccer is coming true.
Kelsey Gibson, a two-time MVP in MVAC girls soccer and 2009 First Team All-State selection, recently signed a letter of intent to play soccer for Delaware State University.
"She's been preparing for this for a long time," said her father, Bill Gibson. "She's always been wanting to play Division I."
Kelsey started playing organized soccer at age nine when she and her family still lived in New Jersey. After moving to Elizabethtown at age 15, she immediately became a standout on the field and soon joined the Lake Placid United, an elite youth soccer club.
Later, she joined the Capital United, another soccer club out of the Albany area. Bill said by playing there, she was able to gain exposure to high profile recruiters.
Now she's about to become the first ELCS athlete in recent memory to play at the Division I collegiate level. Not only was Kelsey offered a spot on the team, but a full scholarship of $28,000 renewable each year.
"It's exciting because I don't really know anybody from this area who gets these kinds of opportunities," she said.
Located in Dover, Del., DSU enrolls about 3,800 students on its 400-acre campus. Its women's soccer team, the Lady Hornets, play in the Great West Conference with teams like New Jersey Institute of Technology and South Carolina State.
Although Kelsey admits she may be a little nervous about moving up to a new level of play, she's confident that her
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abilities will stand up to the challenge.
"I guess if they're paying me to go there, I must have done something right," she mused.
Besides Delaware State, Kelsey was also recruited by several other Division I colleges, including SUNY Albany, University of Maine, University of Massachusetts, Iona, and Monmouth. Maine was the only other school to offer her a full scholarship.