Outside The Lines With Katie Solien From Tabor Academy
You can take the girl out of Falmouth, but you can’t take the Falmouth out of the girl.
Katie Solien calls this town home, she just doesn’t go to school here anymore. A senior at Tabor Academy, the soccer player left FHS after her junior season, and two bad knee injuries, to repeat a year at the private school and get a shot at one more season. Well, that and a chance to get a private school education.
She’s certainly missed by her former teammates and coaches here. Coach Greg Gilbert said he sorely wished that she’d been able to finish up her high school athletic career where she started it, but he was proud of his former player, and happy for her. “She’s a wonderful kid in every way. She really, really hustled, she’s a strong player…she never really got a full season here (because of injuries). It was nice that she got to go and repeat. I’m really happy for her, and she’s really tough and strong, and aggressive, things you can’t coach.”
On the soccer field she’s returning to the form that made her one of the best players that the Clippers had on their roster when she was healthy. She helped the team win last year’s New England Prep School Athletic Conference Class B championship, and they were back in the tournament this year. She also plays for the MPS Lady Crusaders and the Greater New Bedford Vipers.
The daughter of Dan Solien and Kris Horiuchi is a consistent honor roll student who has several interests. She favors creative writing and economics classes in school. She’s also artistically inclined.
Katie said that her Volvo and her stuffed rhino are her most-prized possessions. She loves movies and has three favorites, which are “The Breakfast Club,” “Juno,” and “The Devil Wears Prada.” Her favorite TV show is the creepy “American Horror Story.” Musically, she has eclectic taste, saying that Bob Dylan and Kanye West are her two favorites.
Additionally, Katie is an avid sailor and spends summers on the water at Quissett Yacht Club. She is also a coxswain for the Tabor team. She’s also a junior deacon at the First Congregational Church.
How did you get involved with soccer? How much do you enjoy it?
I got involved with soccer the same way most young kids do: my parents signed me up so I played. I started to become more serious when my dad would take me to the back yard and kick soccer balls with me. I had training videos, books, cones, all sorts of stuff to help me practice. I had a Mia Hamm poster in my room for years. I guess from then on I never really stopped playing. I love the sport, I always have. I remember being at Mullen-Hall and being the only girl playing soccer at recess with the boys.
You had a severe knee injury while attending Falmouth High School. How difficult was it to come back from the injury, and do you feel like you’re back to where you were before?
I tore my ACL (a small ligament in the knee) in the second game of my sophomore year, and my other ACL that spring after I had come back to for my club team. Typically, coming back from an ACL surgery requires at least 6 to 9 months of rehab. During my rehab the idea of quitting regularly phased me, and each time I had to drag myself out of it. I also felt like there was a huge, gaping hole in my identity, and I really struggled with it for a while. I didn’t play soccer for two years, but I put in the work each day and I just finished my second season at Tabor injury-free. I’m lucky I had a lot of incredible people to support me along the way—I’m in a really good place now.
You attended Tabor Academy this year. What has the experience been like, going to a private school. What do you prefer about Tabor and what do you miss about Falmouth? Are you happy that you made the jump over?
I transferred to Tabor last year as a repeat-junior. Yes, I voluntarily repeated my junior year of high school. The transition was definitely hard. I’m a day student, so I commute, and at first I thought I’d be home a lot more, but I’m usually at school from 7 AM until 10:30 PM. I used to always eat with my family every night, and I don’t get to do that now. I still miss my dog a lot. I think Tabor is an all-around closer community. Everyone lives with each other, so you’re more of a family than a school. I miss being around town in Falmouth the most. When I have the time, I drive around and play tourist. As much as I miss Falmouth, switching to Tabor was the best choice for me. I benefited as a student and as an athlete, and I feel truly prepared for college.
In terms of soccer, how did the level of play compare to what you were used to? How did your season go, both individually and as a team?
Tabor soccer was a big step up from the high school. Their preseason is a week-long camp in Maine, and practices usually run for up to two hours. Most of the girls play at least one other varsity sport. Last year we won the Class B championship after an undefeated season. It was so exciting to be a part of, especially after having spent time unable to play. Even today I stop by the gym to look at our banner. This season was a rebuilding year; we graduated 11 girls, but we had another great season, finishing 12-3-1, and we made it to the tournament. We didn’t do as well as last year, but it was just as fun.
What is your favorite sports-related memory?
The first game of this season we played The Brooks School in North Andover. It was scoreless in the first half, but in the second half my teammate split the defense with an awesome through-ball. I beat the girl marking me and outran two other defenders. I shot it lefty and it slid past the keeper, into the bottom right of the net. It was my first goal since returning from my knee injuries. We ended up tying 1-1, but it was a huge turning point for me and sparked my best season yet.
Do you have any sports-related superstitions? If so, what are they?
I’m not a very superstitious person, but I’ve always played in some form of No. 51. Usually it’s No. 6 (5+1), but my second choice is 15. My grandpa was No. 51 throughout his college sports career. I remember picking out my Falmouth travel team number in 4th grade at the rec center. My dad called my grandma up while we were in line and asked what Grandpa used to wear in college. I’ve worn it ever since.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from playing sports?
I’ve learned that on the best teams, everyone’s a leader. By that I mean everyone knows that the girl next up has just as good of a chance of making the play of the game. It’s a matter of confidence, but it’s also a matter of trusting the girl next to you and letting someone else take the shot. I’ve never been a captain, but I know I can make just as big of an impact in any game. When I realized this, the way I played and my mentality as a teammate changed overnight.
Who has been your inspiration?
Definitely my grandpa, who passed away when I was in 8th grade. Even when I was playing rec soccer, he has played an integral part in my pursuit and interest in sports. Before each game the Tabor team writes something on their wrist and wraps it in medical tape. Usually it’s a word or a motto, something to think about when you play, but I always write “51.” That “51” has pushed me through my entire sports career. Also, my brother, Peter, who I promised I’d give a shout-out.
Is there anyone that you would like to thank?
First and foremost, I have to thank my parents. Their unconditional support has seen me through every step I’ve taken, regardless of the direction. There’s a lot of people here in town that I have to thank, too. A special thanks to Tony Sciarrillo, Rose Moran, and Mr. Callinan, three super-parents who not only go the extra mile for their own daughters, but have also been kind enough to show me the same support. Also, the people at the Sports Center Physical Therapy, and Pete Tormey at APT, who worked just as hard as I did to get me back on the field. Trainers never get enough credit. Lastly, my incredible coaches from the town travel team to my club coaches at MPS, to the legendary Greg Gilbert at FHS, and finally to coach Shugs and coach Salit at Tabor. A lot of teams have great coaches, but I feel like I’ve been especially lucky to have had people who are not only good coaches, but also really great people.
What is something about Katie Solien that people would be surprised to learn?
When I first started playing soccer I was a goalkeeper. I was also a defender for two or three years before switching to offense. I’ve been a vegetarian since around March. I do a lot of yoga, especially Bikram yoga, which is done in sauna-like conditions. I love to ski, and I’m a self-acclaimed semi-pro dog portrait artist.
If you could have dinner with any four people (dead or alive), who would they be and why?
I would love to take my grandpa out to dinner. I imagine we would have a meal of my grandma’s peanut butter rolls, and spaghetti with his homemade pasta sauce. I’d also love to dine with chef Joanne Chang, so I could eat at her restaurant, one of my favorites, Myers+Chang in Boston. She’s also my mom’s favorite, so she’d accompany us. I met Steven Tyler of Aerosmith while I was on vacation once. He had a lot of… interesting stories. If we could continue our conversation about his religious experience at the volcanos of Hawai’i over dinner, that’d be cool. Lastly, JP McGrady, because you can’t have a good dinner without good company.
Describe your idea of the perfect day.
My perfect day is on a Sunday in September. I’d wake up at around 5 or 6 AM and go for a run along Surf Drive. After a cold shower, Piper and I would drive down into Woods Hole to have breakfast at Pie in the Sky. I’d take my egg and cheese on a popover to go and walk Piper at The Knob. I’d drive back to campus to meet up with my friends and shoot around on the turf. Dinner would be at Turk’s Seafood in Marion, where I’d have my usual sushi order, a “229” and a “111.” Finally I’d finish up at home curled up on my favorite couch watching “American Horror Story.”
What are your post-high school plans?
I’m looking at a lot of small liberal arts schools in New England, where I’d want to major in visual arts. Alternatively, I’m also looking into going to art school at the Rhode Island School of Design. Whichever ends up happening, I eventually want to go to graduate school to study architecture or urban design.
Where will Katie Solien be in 10 years, and what will she be doing?
In 10 years, Katie Solien will have graduated from a college she enjoyed four wonderful years at, and will be pursuing her graduate degree. She will have a job that not only pushes and challenges her, but also interests her. Katie Solien will be happy and healthy, surrounded by friends and family who love and care about her.
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