Poulakis said she is just glad to have the process over and never really thought much about going anywhere else to continue her soccer career. After a quick look around at a few other schools, the star midfielder didn’t hesitate in her decision to spend the next four years at Wesleyan.
“It’s really nice I can get this (signing) taken care of and not have to worry about high school stuff. I can just worry about getting prepared and getting ready to play next year. I am excited about that,” said the signee.
“I looked at some and visited some (other schools). But, I didn’t seriously consider any of them as seriously as I did Tennessee Wesleyan,” she said. “When I went up there the first time for my recruiting weekend the team was really welcoming and it felt right when I was there.”
She also gave a great deal of credit to TWC’s Naomi Clark and the way the head coach has handled her program.
“Naomi was a big part of it. She has done a lot with the program and I am going to learn a lot from playing with her. When I was training, the team seemed like they all get along really well. It was kind of like a family environment like the team here at Cleveland. I felt like it would be like that at Tennessee Wesleyan,” said Poulakis.
Byrd said it is rare a freshman can come in and make the kind of impact Poulakis did from day one and expects her to have the same kind of impact in Athens as she did in Cleveland.
”She played for me for four years and she started for four years,” Byrd said of his star. “She obviously brought an advanced set of tactical and technical skills to the table. To start as a freshman in any varsity sports is pretty impressive.”
Poulakis served her senior year as a captain of the Lady Raiders and earned Best Offensive Player honors her junior season.
“Her willingness and ability is not transcended by her desire to get in and play the game simply because she loves the game. She is obsessed with the game,” said Byrd. She is s student of the game. She is a special player.”
The Cleveland coach also said the future Lady Bulldog will be ready when her number is called and spent the majority of the 2010 season on the field for the Lady Raiders rarely taking a break.
“This season, she probably sat 30 minutes the whole year. She was on the field more than any other player. She is a senior leader. Her personality is great. She is very, very friendly. She always put team before self. Those were her girls. It’s great when you have seniors like Kaitlyn. Not only do they lead by example, they lead by ownership too. It is her team a lot more than it is mine,” Byrd lauded.
Clark said she kept her eye on Poulakis after seeing her play in a few games and was impressed with her presence on the field.
“I saw her play in high school a couple of times and she came up and played in our tournament last spring. I was really surprised with her skill, her tenacious attitude on the field and the way she was always getting after the ball. As a central midfield player that is what I’m looking for. And she hits some pretty sweet shots,” she said.
“She makes things happen. She is dangerous in front of goal.”
Clark also stated it should not take Poulakis a great deal of time to break into the Wesleyan starting lineup if she continues to develop her skills and work hard.
“She is pretty close. It depends on how comes on in preseason, if she’s had a touch on a ball for the spring and summertime. Then, maybe she impresses in preseason, steps in and slides into a starting role. She is close to it (being a starter). Technically, she is the kind of player we have playing right now. So I don’t see her being far from it, it’s up to her.
“I see her being a consistent player for four years. I have no doubt in my mind she will be a consistent player for us. I don’t think she will take a year to get into it and see a year on the bench. I think she’s going to be coming off the bench early as a freshman or even starting as a freshman if she works right, and playing on a consistent basis. I hope that is what happens,” said Clark.
Poulakis said although she is ready for her new adventure, she is not fully sure what to expect from her soon to be new surrounding. One thing is certain according to the determined senior, whatever comes her way, she will meet it full on.
“I don’t really know what to expect,” said the future english student. “It’s weird because I’m the oldest one on the team right now and I am going to being the new one when I get there. Starting now, I’m just planning on working hard to make sure I can really can go there and make a difference on the team.”