Newbury Park’s Kaitlyn McKeown spearheads 2019 Daily News All-Area girls soccer team

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The Daily News All-Area girls soccer team.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Kaitlyn McKeown, Newbury Park Sr.

Kaitlyn McKeown’s stats speak for themselves. She scored 25 goals, had five assists and led the Panthers to an undefeated regular season and Marmonte League championship.

What’s more impressive is that she did it by playing forward for the first time.

“I’ve played center back my entire life,” she said. “I play center back for my club team, in academy and I got recruited (to college) as a center back.”

Four of Newbury Park’s first six matches resulted in a draw.

“Our team was having a hard time scoring. Coach (Tony Cortez) put me at forward and we started scoring more goals,” McKeown said with a humble smile.

2019 girls soccer player of the year, Kaitlyn McKeown, 17, has some fun at Newbury Park High School in Newbury Park on Thursday, March 14, 2019. (Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Contributing Photographer)

2019 girls soccer player of the year, Kaitlyn McKeown, 17, has some fun at Newbury Park High School in Newbury Park on Thursday, March 14, 2019. (Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Contributing Photographer)

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2019 girls soccer player of the year, Kaitlyn McKeown, 17, has some fun at Newbury Park High School in Newbury Park on Thursday, March 14, 2019. (Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Contributing Photographer)

2019 girls soccer player of the year, Kaitlyn McKeown, 17, has some fun at Newbury Park High School in Newbury Park on Thursday, March 14, 2019. (Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Contributing Photographer)

2019 girls soccer player of the year, Kaitlyn McKeown, 17, has some fun at Newbury Park High School in Newbury Park on Thursday, March 14, 2019. (Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Contributing Photographer)

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McKeown’s ability to play out of her natural position was instrumental in Newbury Park’s successful season. The speed, aggression and skill that make her so great at stopping the opposition from scoring as a center back quickly became the recipe for a goal-scoring machine.

“My college coach hasn’t seen me play forward,” McKeown said chuckling. “I definitely had more fun playing up front, scoring goals. Not sure what position I’ll play in college now.”

McKeown is committed to play for Navy, a mature decision based on her life after soccer.

“I always knew I wanted to play college soccer, but that’s where it will stop. I want to serve our country,” McKeown said. “I want to be a pilot. Not a combat pilot, …read more

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