Flashes goalie helps countries in need through mission trips

Matt Lofgren

Most girls who are juniors in college dream of spending spring break in Florida or Hawaii, but Julie Keslar would rather spend her time in countries that need help.

A nursing major, Keslar prides herself on being the No. 2 goalie on the Kent State soccer team, but also knows she has a much higher calling than the sport she loves. So far, the junior has traveled out of the U.S. three times for mission trips with her friends, venturing to the Dominican Republic, Indonesia and Kenya.

“I mostly work with children and kids and trying to inspire them but all of them are different,” Keslar said. “In Indonesia we just worked with kids to make their day a little brighter because they had a gravel playground to play soccer. Kenya was a Christian sports camp where we were training them to be leaders of the next generation.”

Kelsar’s résumé is an impressive one for not just any college student, but for someone who dedicates a majority of her time to playing and practicing soccer.

Playing behind senior Kelly Sherwood, Keslar has learned from one of the best to prepare for any situation she needs to step up and play in. Last season, she made her first career start against Miami and let up one goal and saved 10 shots.

To this point in the Flashes’ 2011 campaign, Keslar has made three appearances for the team, which totaled 46 minutes in front of the net. She made one save while letting in one goal.

But soccer to Keslar is a small part of a bigger plan she sees set for herself. By working hard in college, she hopes to give back to countries in need after she graduates.

“It’s from my passion in Christ, in the Dominican he pretty much set my heart on fire and he showed me that I am going to do this for the rest of my life,” Keslar said. “Hopefully world missions is what we are aiming for, I would love to set up a med center somewhere, especially around orphanages because around those kids is so much disease.”

Keslar feels her strength comes from a higher power, but on the field, her strength comes from her teammates and Kent State coach Rob Marinaro’s team philosophy.

“I think it’s our camaraderie,” Keslar said. “We just work so much together and we get along really well so I think on the field it’s easier to connect with passes and know what each other are going to do without actually telling them.”

For now, Kelsar is waiting her turn to take over the reins of the starting job for the Flashes. Collecting their first win of the MAC this past Sunday against Bowling Green, the team is looking ahead to a stacked conference with physical play coming up with weekend trips to Eastern Michigan Friday followed by Central Michigan on Sunday.

The Eagles are 0-8-1 and have struggled to score all season, only accumulating four goals in nine games. Sunday — against a stronger Chippewas team that is 6-1-2 — will be a big road test for the Flashes.

Contact Matt Lofgren at [email protected] and @gonzoEdu.