Anna Jones

Vocal sophomore Kira Winston plays up on the ball at practice. “Practice goes into everything we do,” Winston said. “In order to be ready for [the showcase in] Texas, we need to practice as much as we can.” (Anna Jones)

  All eyes are on her as she traps the ball on the field. Scouts watch from the sidelines. She has to put the pressure behind her as she passes the ball. Vocal sophomore Kira Winston traveled with her team, the Palm Beach Predators, to Dallas, Texas, to compete in the Development Player League Dallas. The DPL is a program that allows teams to play in front of college scouts under the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, a high-level soccer league.

      “It’s a very difficult league to get into, and the opportunity for college scouts to see us is amazing,” Winston’s teammate and communications freshman Cameron Wilson said.

     The DPL consists of only 24 girls soccer clubs from across the country. According to the DPL, “each team will be expected to compete in home and away matches against each of the participating clubs in the DPL.” Additionally, each club must consist of players with exceptional records and high ranks in the state level. 

     “My team has the ability to play very well,” Winston said. “It just depends on how we act the second we step onto the field.” looking to make sure she dribbles, passes, and shoots well. After all, playing well is a priority for Winston, as it is with all players in the highly selective DPL league, and communication is a key aspect in success on the field. 

     “[I try] to be as vocal on the field as possible,” Winston said. “Off the field, I try to be as positive as possible.” 

     Winston and her team overcame some obstacles while playing in Dallas, such as the change in climate. The air is drier in Texas than it is in Florida, so players had to adapt by staying hydrated. 

     “This different kind of heat may really end up being a problem for us,”Predators player Peyton Dominguez said. “I just hope we can learn to play in a different environment against these great teams.” 

Winston couldn’t just rely on skill in Dallas—she also leaned on her teammates.

 “My teammates are always super positive and uplifting on the field and [encourage] me to keep going if I make a mistake,” Winston said. “I hope that my team [and I] take everything seriously, and work as hard as we can during the games.”