Katie Estes will soon by saying goodbye to the soccer pitch at Panther Stadium, but hello to Williams Baptist College.
Estes, the Cabot Lady Panthers goalkeeper, signed her National Letter of Intent to play soccer at Williams Baptist this week. Williams Baptist is an NAIA school in Walnut Ridge.
"I’m excited for her because this has been a dream of her’s since she first kicked a ball when she was four-years-old," said Katie’s father Ken Estes. "I’m pretty happy she’ll be close enough for us to go see her too."
Estes had played in the field all of her career until she was was sort of forced into the goalkeeper role as a freshman. Her first game was a shutout, although she gives much of the credit to her defense for that win.
"She was a field player, so she has a lot of feet skills that you don’t see in other keepers," said Cabot Kerry Castillo. "Being out also helps her see things developing before they happen, so she knows where she needs to be ahead of time."
Estes played in the Showcase of the South in January, gaining exposure to dozens of college coaches. She looked at several colleges as far away as Iowa, but in the end, fell in love with the campus, coaches and lifestyle at Williams Baptist.
"It is a great religious school, the coach kept in contact with me and is close enough that my family and friends can come to games if they want to," said Estes. "Plus the coach said I might split some time in the goal and on the field, and I really love playing defense out there."
Estes plans on studying biology before going into medical school.
"Katie is going to be successful in life," said Castillo. "She is always positive and brings that energy to the field. She has that confidence and I think the other girls play with more confidence just having her on the field."