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Athlete Of The Week: Kayla Saager

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - The Binghamton University women's soccer team is currently 9-3-4 this season.

They've seen a big boost in success this year, with a large part of it due to my Athlete of the Week, Kayla Saager.

"Every song I listen to before every game is 'Chicken Fried'. Back when the song first came out, I really liked it, and I scored 3 goals that game so I was like ok I'm going to do this before every game," said Saager.

If you're inside the Binghamton University Events Center before a women's soccer game and you hear that Zac Brown Band song, there's a good chance Kayla Saager is getting ready to hit the field.

Saager, who's been playing soccer since she was 3 years old, is a transfer red-shirt junior for the Bearcats.

She's made an immediate impact, currently 8th in the country in total points.

But she's just glad she's finally found the right fit.

"I'm just happy to be a part of this team, and the culture, and everything around it. And to contribute everything I can."

After having to sit out last season due to the transfer, Saager has more than made up for it with phenomenal play this season.

Before B.U., Saager played at both N.C.State and West Virginia, both powerhouses in the sport.

Kayla has gotten many different experiences from both those schools as well as where she's at now.

"Coming to Binghamton, just having that experience at both those schools, I'm happy I could bring that level and experience to the team now, and I think it really helped."

However, her success has not come without adversity.

When she was in just the 8th grade, Kayle tore her ACL and was forced to sit out for 18 months because her growth plates weren't closed.

Then, in her junior year of high school she tore her meniscus and recovered only to repeat the injury again her freshman year of college.

Despite the setbacks, Saager never lost her positive outlook.

"I just couldn't wait to get back. There was no question, like, no question in my mind that I was going to stop playing and not continue my soccer career."

    With all the experience she's gathered throughout the years, there's no doubt about her skills on the field.

And after she's done playing, Kayla says she has an idea of what she wants to do off of it.

"I would love to coach after. Maybe grad assistant when I'm finished, and go get my Master's for something. Or, I think, if the coaching doesn't work out or something, maybe a kindergarten teacher."

With a few games remaining this season as well as next year, Saager still has time to decide what comes next.

But for now, on game days, keep an ear open for 'Chicken Fried' and then watch  #44 continue to leave her mark in B.U. history.

Kayla also told me that another pre-game ritual she has is with her father.

He'll text her asking "What's today?" and after she replies "Game day", he sends her a motivational quote.


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