Coaches can’t teach passion, and that’s one thing that Windsor High School girls soccer star Alex Klema brings to every practice and game.
Klema, 17, will not only bring that passion this spring for the Wizards, but she’ll also take it to Emporia State University in Kansas next fall.
Klema signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer for Emporia State on Thursday in an after-school ceremony in front of her friends and family.
“I’m really excited for the challenges it will bring, and just all the new experiences,” said Klema, the daughter of Dan Klema and Susan Jewell-Klema of Windsor.
Wizards coach Cristi Thomas said she loves how her attacking midfielder/forward plays the game.
“The bottom line is I’ve been coaching for 13 years and I have not ever seen a player with this much passion and love for the game,” Thomas said. “I clearly love the game, and she shares that same passion. She spreads it to everybody. She wants to get everybody else on the same page as her.”
In Klema’s three years as a starter for the Wizards, they have advanced to the Class 4A state playoffs twice, losing in the Sweet 16 in 2011 and the first round 2-1 to Niwot last season.
Klema’s coming off a junior season where she was second in scoring to teammate Kelsey Steffens. Klema, a co-captain, scored 12 goals and assisted on six others for 30 points in 14 games. Klema’s leadership skills helped the Wizards win the Tri-Valley Conference with an 11-0-1 record, 12-3-1 overall.
Thomas thinks Klema will excel at Emporia State, a Division II school eight hours from Windsor with an enrollment of around 6,000 students.
“The passion will come through. She understands that college is one step up. It’s another level,” Thomas said. “There’s going to be hard work involved. It’s every day. Sometimes it’s three times a day. As a freshman, I can see her getting quite a bit of playing time.”
Klema said her passion for soccer came as a young girl when she played with her sister.
“All the good memories I have are around soccer,” Klema said.
Thomas said Klema also has leadership skills to go with her talent and passion.
“She’s a huge leader. She’s very strong,” Thomas said. “She gets everybody motivated. She has such a drive.”
Adam Bauer, Klema’s club coach with Arsenal Colorado from Fort Collins, said Klema is one of the best players he’s ever coached.
“Alex is incredible. She’s a pure athlete, and she works hard,” Bauer said. “I’m very proud of her.”
Klema said she chose Emporia State over other schools because she thinks she’ll get a lot of playing time as a freshman.
“I like the team, the coach and the overall school,” Klema said.
Klema said she’s looking forward to playing her final season as a Wizard.
“I’m just glad I got this out of the way so I can focus on the next season, and I can give everything I have to that team,” Klema said.