By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
After finishing a stellar career on the soccer field at Madison Southern last fall, Dakota Gadd will be taking her talents to the college level next season.
The midfielder, forward from Berea recently signed a national letter of intent to play soccer next season for the University of the Cumberlands.
“Dakota is a very energetic and technical player who will add great quality to our roster. We are expecting great things from Dakota and we know she can deliver,” Cumberlands coach Joe Townsend said. “Dakota will not only fit in on the field, I feel she is a great addition off it too. Both athletically and academically we know that Dakota will excel as a Patriot and we’re really excited to have her join us after facing some stiff competition for her signature.”
During her Lady Eagles career, Gadd scored 100 goals — 36 her senior year, a single-season school record — and accounted for more than 40 percent of the team’s scoring.
She was named varsity MVP following her senior season and was named to the 44th District First Team and Second Team All-11th Region.
In addition, she also played for the Javanon Soccer Club, one of the top clubs in the state.
Gadd’s exploits on the field grabbed the attention of college coaches, earning her scholarship offers from five NAIA schools, including the University of the Cumberlands, as well as one NCAA Division II school. She was also offered a walk-on spot at Eastern Kentucky University.
But ultimately, Gadd said, she felt like the Cumberlands was the best fit for her.
“Cumberlands was the only school that I visited twice and I really liked that it was small and also close to home,” Gadd said. “When I first went down there I didn’t think that I would like it, but I ended up liking it a lot and I’m excited to be a Patriot.”
Another drawing card for the Cumberlands was the fact that one of her former teammates at Southern, Kim Robinson, will be a sophomore with the Patriots, which Gadd said should help make the transition from high school to college a little easier.
Southern coach Katie Cress said Gadd brings a lot of tools to the field and will be a good addition for the Patriots.
“Dakota has been the starting center midfielder for me for four years. She can distribute the ball well. She also has good control of the ball and passes well, but obviously she is also able to score and I think she will be able to do that at the college level also,” Cress said.
She said the Cumberlands is a perfect fit for Gadd and getting to play with Robinson should help them both to excel for the Patriots.
“Kim and Dakota played two years together at Southern. They both have a lot of speed and a lot of strength. They are very well conditioned and are used to feeding the ball to each other, so it should be a good combination for the Cumberlands,” Cress said. “I definitely think it is a good fit for Dakota. She is away from home but not so far away that she can’t come home if she needs to.”
Cress said she told Gadd that her signing was not only good for her but also for other in the Eagles’ program.
“I told Dakota that not only is she setting the bar high for herself, she’s setting it high for all her teammates as well, because if she can play at that level, maybe it will help some of them realize that they can too,” Cress said.
Gadd is the daughter of Jackie and Randy Gadd of Berea.