Your Neighbor: Meet Kaitlyn Barbour

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 22, 2021

By Mandy Haggerson
For the Clemmons Courier

Kaitlyn Barbour grew up in Apex, learning early on how meaningful positive influences would be in shaping her future. “My dad started coaching me at five years of age for the first six years of my playing soccer,” recalls Barbour who also played softball and swam on the summer swim team. “It was really fun and special having him as my coach,” remembers Barbour.

Barbour’s love for soccer intensified as she continued to play through the years. She began playing club soccer at 11 years old which helped her stand out during her teenage years. Taking the sport to the next level was something that Barbour knew was a goal after she graduated from Apex High School in 2015. “I had played soccer since I could walk, and I knew that I wasn’t ready to give it up,” explains Barbour. “I chose Averett University to go to college and play soccer.”

Barbour achieved her goal of playing soccer for all four years while attending Averett. Barbour had also caught the eye of another coach on Averett’s campus. Averett’s lacrosse coach had asked Barbour to try out for their team, however, she was reticent. “I had been interested in lacrosse my whole life; however, it always was played during the same season as soccer which was my passion,” mentions Barbour. Finally, after Barbour’s senior soccer season ended which, she served as a captain, she finally joined the lacrosse team. “Ironically it ended up being the best experience of my time in college because of the coaching staff,” says Barbour who was named to the USA South First Team defensive unit in the sport. “Soccer can be really competitive all the time. Lacrosse is competitive also, but the camaraderie amongst the players was really supportive. They helped teach me since I was learning everything for the first time, even if it meant less playing time on the field then them.”

As Barbour was working hard on the field, she was also was honored as an Academic All-Conference player who took her studies very seriously. “I received a bachelor’s degree in sociology and criminal justice and psychology, concentrating in clinical and counseling,” says Barbour. “I knew that I wanted to work with kids, especially ones who needed extra help. I researched various programs and became very interested in the school counseling program at Salem College.” Barbour began her three-year graduate program that requires two years in the classroom and the final year with internship hours. Barbour’s program also includes a graduate assistant coaching position for Salem College’s soccer team. “The head coach made me feel really welcome, and I was excited to help at a school that I was familiar with having played them all four years during my college experience,” explains Barbour.

Barbour has proven to be an asset to Salem’s soccer team as she was just in their shoes as well. “I can understand their feelings and emotions that they are going through as a player,” relates Barbour. Having had great mentors in my life, I want to encourage kids to discover and develop their passion in life too. Whether I will be in a school counseling position or coaching somewhere after I graduate, making a difference and being a positive influence in kids’ life is important to me.”

Our neighbor shares the same philosophy as retired soccer player, Mia Hamm-Garciaparra. “If you don’t love what you do, you won’t do it with much conviction or passion.”