Stratford’s Blankenship receives coaching accolades

Coach Kate Blankenship training goalkeeper Carolynn Dromsky. (Photo by LIZZI CLAYTON, Gazebo Staff)

By LIZZI CLAYTON, Gazebo Assistant Editor

Ever since playing goalkeeper for the Stratford girls soccer team from 2003 to 2006, Kate Blankenship has been all about soccer.

She was named all-region her junior and senior years of high school, as well as all-state and All Middle Georgia her senior year. She went on to play at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, where she was selected as a Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week and setting a school shutout record.

After serving as a UAB girls soccer recruiter, Blankenship returned to Stratford as head girls soccer coach. She also serves as an assistant girls volleyball coach and a P.E. instructor.

Although she is in only in her second year at Stratford as a coach, Blankenship is once again being recognized for her pivotal role in the school’s soccer program. She was named the Middle Georgia Soccer Coach of the year, as well as being selected into a prestigious group of coaches recognized by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America as one of the 30 best coaches under age 30 in America.

Through an application process where more than 500 other coaches applied, Blankenship was selected for the “30 Under 30” group and recently attended the NSCAA convention in Baltimore, Maryland, in January. She was the only high school-only coach recognized.

“I felt that it was an honor,” she said. “I have a a lot of respect for the NSCAA and what they do, and I’ve met some really impressive people along the way. [Some of them] won World Cups, so they’re the best of the best and the ability to learn from them and sit down across the table and talk about soccer with them is truly an honor.”

Blankenship will lead the girl soccer program once again this year.

“I have high hopes [for this upcoming season], I always do. We have a tremendous group of young girls…I’m excited about it,” she said.

The Eaglettes will play Deerfield-Windsor at first game at home at 6 p.m. on March 3.