WALLINGFORD – The crowd around Sheehan senior Kelsey Burr lingered longer than most signings after she made her college choice official on Tuesday afternoon at the Sheehan gymnasium.
The standout center-midfielder signed with Division II Southern Connecticut and will play for the Owls next fall.
Burr and her crowd of supporters were all smiles as she put pen to paper wearing a SCSU sweatshirt and winter hat.
“I’m really excited,” Burr said. “I just have to thank all of my coaches and family. They are the reason I’m here today. They just pushed me really hard. It’s a great accomplishment.”
In addition to being on the pitch for the Owls, Burr will study elementary education. Another upside to Southern for Burr was to stay close to home and her parents, Kristen and Brian.
“I thought it was a good fit,” Burr said. “I talked to the (SCSU) coach and he came to some of my games. At first, he made me an offer, but I didn’t accept it. I thought with my potential I was better than what he offered, and then he came back about a month later and offered me more and I’m pleased with my decision.”
The Titans did plenty of winning in Burr’s four years at Sheehan. In her senior season, the Titans were 12-2-2 and made the Class M quarterfinals.
“It was a journey,” Burr said. “I enjoyed playing for Sheehan. It was tough missing the seven games this year with an injury. I hurt my ankle and went for therapy for it, but I’m back.”
Sheehan coach Rob Huelsman said Burr toughed it out through the pain and continued to play at her expected high level.
“I think she will do great in college,” Huelsman said Tuesday. “She’s not only a skilled player, but she understands the game well. She will fit in with the speed and style of play and the type of players she is going to be up against. She should have no problem being in the starting lineup and being one of the top players as a freshman.
“She’s a natural,” the Sheehan coach added. “She has good speed, vision and does some great things with the ball whether she is trying to score or assist. She will play every day and will never get tired of playing.”
Huelsman noted that Burr was named All-State three times, the only player to do that in his 11-year tenure at Sheehan.
“As a complete player and all of the different things that she does, she’s been my top player,” Huelsman said. “From Day 1 to her senior year, she’s always been a solid player. She has all of the different skills and kicks our corners, free kicks and took everyone one of our PK’s in her four years.”
Burr totaled 48 goals and 29 assists in her Sheehan career.
Huelsman said Burr never missed a PK in her high school career. One day in practice he joked with his players that Burr couldn’t miss even if she was blindfolded.
“There’s a lot of pressure on you,” Huelsman said. “It’s tough to make all of those PKs and she never let that pressure get to her. She went up there and got the job done. We had a lot of great players come through. but she was consistent every year and solid all the way through.”
Here’s the Burr breakdown. In her four years, Burr:
■Played in 71 games and started 68;■Recorded nine goals and two assists as a freshman;■Scored a career-best 16 goals as a sophomore and added seven assists;■Collected 10 goals and 11 assists as a junior;■Capped her career as a senior with 13 goals and nine assists despite missing the seven games with an ankle injury suffered in the third game of the season.
“At the high school level, a lot of the coaches were all really impressed with Kelsey,” Huelsman said.
“The first couple of years, they didn’t know how to handle her. The third and fourth year, they started marking her differently. She was a player everyone knew they had to watch out for. She’s going to do well next year.”
Burr had both goals in a 2-1 second-round win over Waterford in the 2017 Class M state tournament.
Burr said she’s played soccer since she could walk. She started with the Wallingford Youth Soccer League, where she played in-house and travel. She moved on to premier teams at CFC, then Oakwood before playing for Ginga FC last summer.
This coming summer, Burr will play for a premier team, Brazil CT, and suit up for the Massachusetts New England Mutiny before starting her career with SCSU.
In addition to being All-State three times, Burr was a three-time All-SCC player. She was selected to the first two All-Record-Journal teams.