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Carter gets her shot with Arkansas
Kate Carter (left) of Bentonville West sends a shot past a Fayetteville goalkeeper during the Class 6A girls soccer state championship game on Saturday, May 21, 2022, in Benton.
CENTERTON — Kate Carter approached Bentonville West girls soccer Coach Kerry Castillo shortly after the coronavirus had wiped out her freshman season, and she began to tell him of her dreams to become an NCAA Division I player.
Castillo started to tell Carter to slow down, but she didn’t. As a result, Carter turned the dream into reality Wednesday afternoon when she signed her national letter of intent to play soccer at the University of Arkansas.
“I’m very, very excited,” Carter said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity. It’s a huge blessing, so I’m super excited.
“I knew Arkansas was the school I wanted to be at. I mean, growing up and playing soccer in Arkansas, becoming a Razorback is like a dream of every girl growing up and playing soccer her. So why not?”
The 5-6 Carter was one of 13 players signed by Arkansas Coach Colby Hale on the first day of the fall national signing period. She is the reigning Gatorade Girls Soccer Player of the Year in Arkansas, and she earned all-conference and all-state honors after she scored 16 goals and added 11 assists to help West win its first soccer state championship in school history last spring.
Carter said she received an offer from Hale on June 16, the second day that college coaches were allowed to reach out to athletes. She then committed to the Razorbacks later in the summer.
“Whenever he texted me, I was super shocked and very excited,” Carter said. “It was surprising to me. They came and watched me at a showcase, then I came out to camp and committed after that. I had a couple of other schools that reached out to me, but I knew Arkansas was the school I wanted to be at.
“I’m focused on the next step and I want to be ready when I get there. I’m getting fit and getting stronger and staying in soccer.”
Carter will get there even sooner than expected. She announced she will graduate in December, then forego her senior season at West in order to go to Arkansas and join the Razorbacks.
“You can’t replace a Kate Carter — not just the athlete, but the kind of person she is,” Castillo said. “Yes, we’re sad to see her go, but we’re so proud of her. This is a big deal for our program for someone to go and play for the Razorbacks, especially with the success they’ve had lately.
“They’re getting a good one. She will ignite their culture with her work ethic and with the quality of person she is. She’ll set a standard of how to behave and work, which I’m sure they have a great one in place right now. She’ll be a spark for them, for sure.”
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