Shoemaker keeper tackles adversities

Shoemaker goalkeeper Keandra Gray poses at the school Thursday, Feb. 28. Gray has developed into a talented goalkeeper for the Grey Wolves despite being born with deformities to her hands.

After earning the District 8-5A Goalkeeper MVP award last season, Shoemaker’s Keandra Gray is out to make her senior season memorable.

The Lady Grey Wolves star is poised to help the team make the postseason in 2014.

Gray talked about the season, her love of the game and her thoughts on the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

What are your thoughts on the season so far?

So far I’m excited, I’m ready to play district. I have a lot of confidence in the girls and I’m really excited to play.

Do you feel like you really have to make the most out of your senior year?

I just want to keep playing, play my hardest and show that I’ve improved over the past year.

Does this year feel different?

It does feel different because I’m settling on the fact that I won’t be able to play next year. I just really want to make the most out of this year. Just play my hardest and leave my heart on the field every time I go out there and play.

Last year you were the District 8-5A goalkeeper of the year, do you feel like the spotlight is on you?

I do feel like that a little bit, but I just know that I’m going to prove that what happened last year wasn’t a fluke. I’m going to continue to do what I did last year this year.

Who introduced you to soccer?

My brother, he was just like, “You should play soccer,” because I was just going to swim my freshman year because I had only been playing for four years. Ever since then, I’ve loved soccer. I play club now — that’s another two seasons of soccer.

What do you like most about the game?

I really love that I can go out, play the game and really leave my aggression out on the field. I just like that I can play with my friends and be aggressive on the field. I mean, there are things you can’t do in real life. You can’t go up and hit somebody on the shoulder, so it’s fun to play.

Is there a certain player that you look up to?

Of course, Hope Solo. I know she’s tall, but there’s things I watch her (do) during games, and I just go over some of the things she does. I’m like, oh wow, I do this, too, or I need to work on that.

Are you as talkative as Solo?

I talk a lot. I’m pretty sure the girls tune me out when I’m out on the field because I talk so much.

Do you remember a point where you really fell in love with the game?

My freshman year. I actually didn’t want to be a goalkeeper when I first came in. I wanted to play on the field. I don’t even remember what made me want to be a goalkeeper because I’m short and there were two people in front of me. I knew I wasn’t going to get a lot of playing time. And it was (during) my freshman year that I loved playing and (knew) I was going to continue to play for the rest of my life.

Are you going to watch any of the World Cup games over the summer?

Of course. Even though I’m going to be busy with other things, I’m still going to make time to sit down and watch the games.

Is there a certain team you’re going to follow?

Not specifically. I kind of root for the underdog in some of the games.

What are your team goals for the year?

Every year the playoffs are the goal for the team. But, right now, I really want the team to work on playing their own game, doing the things that we know to do on the field and not be intimidated by other teams that can do things that we can’t do.

We’re capable of doing all of these wonderful things on the field that are just as good as what they do, so we have to focus on doing what we need to do.

Contact Albert Alvarado at

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