CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – John Jay senior Kaitlyn Weis is a midfielder on the girls varsity soccer team, which won the Section 1 Class A title last season.

How old were you when you started playing soccer and how did you get started?

I started playing soccer when I was about 5 years old. My dad has always loved the sport so he got me playing in a parks and rec league basically as soon as I was old enough to sign up.

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Coming off a section title last year, what are the team’s expectations for the upcoming season?

The expectations are high. We lost a number of incredible seniors this past year, so we as a team have some big shoes to fill. Our main goal we have set for this season is making it back to the section final game. We know that we have a target on our backs. Winning the section last year just means that we have to work even harder this year if we want to be successful. For our team that means holding each other and ourselves accountable for training hard every day, supporting each other no matter what and practicing good recovery habits. This season we are focusing on taking each game one at a time because any time we step onto a field as a team there is something to play for.

As a rising senior on the team, how much do you value being a leader?

I have so much respect and admiration for the seniors who graduated this past year. Each and every one of them was a leader in their own way even if they weren’t all designated captains. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with them and learn from them over the years. Now coming into my senior year, I want to take what I have learned from earlier seniors and bring those memories of true leadership to life for our new underclassmen. I know I have to set a good example along with my fellow seniors for the members of our team who might have not experienced the leadership we once had. I value being a leader so much because I know how big an impact they can have on individual players as well as the overall team performance and success.

What is your favorite team activity, pregame or postgame ritual that you share with your teammates?

My favorite team activity is definitely playing a game called the Purge. It’s hard to explain but the game gets super intense and chaotic every time we play. The game brings out this crazy competitive spirit in the team and everyone is always cheering, yelling, and playing as hard as they can to win. My favorite pregame ritual has to be when we all get hype to songs as a team on the bus to an away game or on our home turf during warm-ups. As for after our games, we always blast old songs on the bus that everyone knows the words to, dancing and singing all the way home.

Who has been your biggest role model over the years and what have you learned from them?

My good friend, Allison Oestreicher. She was the goalie for the varsity team and just graduated this past year. Allison inspired me with her competitive and upbeat spirit. She was a huge part of the team’s success over the years because of her incredible performances on the field and her amazing personality. Both on and off the field, Allison was always the one you could count on to be there supporting you and pushing you to work harder. Allison wasn’t a designated team captain, but she didn’t need the title for everyone to see the major impacts her positive leadership had on the team. She sacrificed anything and everything for the sake of the team. She was my first friend on the varsity team and I will never forget that.

Tell us one thing about yourself that not a lot of people know?

I love to draw. It’s something that really relaxes me and helps me relieve stress. Sometimes I will spend hours and hours just listening to music and drawing whatever I can find around my house.

Will you continue to play soccer in college? If yes, where are you going and why did you pick that school?

I am going to continue playing soccer at Ithaca College. I picked Ithaca because, out of all the schools I visited, I felt the most at home there. There is always something happening on campus and there is an incredible town commons area shared with Cornell where all the students go to hang out. Ithaca is also close enough to home that on weekends my family can come and visit to watch my games.

Do you know what you want to study in college? If yes, what and why?

I want to study physical therapy. I actually had physical therapy after I sprained my ankles a few years ago and that’s when I first considered physical therapy as a major. I know that this is what I want to study because I love helping and caring for other people. The job of a physical therapist is incredibly rewarding. Watching the progress that people make during recovery is just amazing and I would love to be a part of the healing process someday.

Who is your favorite professional athlete and pro or college sports team?

Tom Brady. Not just because of his accomplishments, but because his incredible work ethic, competitive spirit and passion for his sport inspire me. My favorite pro sports team is Manchester United. My dad and I have been watching the team for years on TV and I hope that one day we can go and watch a game live.

What is your favorite music to listen to warming up for a game?

Whether it’s rap music, throwbacks or top hits, it doesn’t really matter. My favorite music to listen to while warming up for a game is pretty much anything I can sing along to with my teammates. Singing before a game always releases some of my pregame nerves and gets me hyped up to play.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

The ability to teleport places because I hate paying for gas. I also think it would be beneficial in terms of speed of play.

If you could pick one place to visit on vacation that you’ve never been to, where would you go and why?

I would love to visit Gardens by the Bay, which is a futuristic park in Singapore. It looks beautiful and to see it in person would be an incredibly unique experience.

What is your favorite food to eat before or after a game?

Before a game I’m not really hungry so I usually have something small like a piece of fruit or half a bagel. After a game I usually like to have a smoothie or a protein shake.

Best place to eat in Katonah-Lewisboro?

My favorite place to eat is Empire Bagels (Cross River). I go there a lot after school and practices because I love their smoothies and grilled chicken caesar wrap.

Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram? Why?

Probably Snapchat because my friends and I always send each other the funniest pictures and videos.

For a young athlete growing up in Katonah-Lewisboro, what would you tell them about the experience of being part of the soccer program and why should they go out for the team?

My experience being a part of the soccer program at John Jay has been amazing so far. I am so lucky to be a part of a team that cares so much about the game and each other. John Jay soccer is a family. We go through everything together. We win together, we lose together and we grow together both on and off the field. High school soccer gave me the opportunity to meet people in all different grades and I have made the most incredible friends. During my sophomore year, I chose to join the girls developmental academy, which meant that I had to give up high school soccer. I can honestly say that it was the hardest year of soccer in my life. When I returned to high school soccer my junior year, it was so refreshing to play alongside my closest friends where we could laugh, play and compete together again. John Jay soccer has been such a unique and life changing experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world.