Klein and White are Camas soccer All-Americans

Both are invited to the NSCAA national convention in Baltimore, on Jan. 15

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Camas High School seniors Raya Klein and Drew White were selected with 76 other girls and boys to be on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s High School All-American 2010 teams.

After tearing her ACL during her sophomore season, Klein battled back to become a co-captain of the Papermaker team that placed third in the 2009 state tournament. She maintained her status as captain in 2010, and helped Camas win a league championship and reach the quarterfinals of the state tournament.

“It’s been an amazing four years with Camas. And to end up winning an award like this, I couldn’t ask for much more,” Klein said. “When I tore my ACL, I thought it was the end of the world but it wasn’t. It was just a setback, and another challenge I had to overcome.

“I am very thankful for all of the experiences I’ve had playing soccer, both good and bad,” she added. “All of these experiences have shaped me into the person that I am. I wouldn’t have done it any other way.”

During his junior season in 2010, White scored 20 goals and dished 17 assists to help the Papermaker boys win the league championship and place third in state. The senior looks forward to making one more run at a state title in the spring with his best friends in Camas, before reuniting with former Papermaker soccer players Brent Richards and Quinton Beasley at the University of Washington.

“It’s not every day you become an All-American as a junior,” White said. “To be an All-American means you are one of the best high school players in the nation, and that makes you want to work even harder to be better than you were last year.”

Klein and White will be honored at the All-American Luncheon Saturday, Jan. 15, at the Hilton Baltimore Hotel, in Maryland.

“I’m definitely curious about it,” Klein said. “It’s a big honor. It’s only fair for me to go and accept it because I am so thankful for it.”

Klein is going to attend Washington State University next fall. She aspires to become a teacher, and could see herself becoming a soccer coach some day.

She shares a sisterhood with her high school teammates. One of them happens to be her sister Ciara.

“We have both been on the same team forever. We challenge each other, but we always keep it fun,” Klein said. “My best competition is her. In many ways, she makes me the person that I am today.”

Klein says the same thing about her Papermaker teammates.

“These girls made every soccer practice and game memorable for me,” she said. “The thrill of being successful together, and being able to share happiness with your teammates, that’s what makes soccer one of the best sports.”

Klein and White thank their teammates, and head coach Roland Minder, for helping them reach for the stars.

“Wherever I go, I want to do the best that I can to represent Minder,” White said. “My very first goal this year is to become one of the team captains. I’ve been on the team for four years, and I want to help Minder and the team succeed.

“As a team, I would love to see us win league again and go deep into the state tournament,” he added. “Hopefully, we can win it. I know that’s what Minder expects, it’s what I expect and it’s what the team should expect.”

The Camas boys return to their old roots at the brand new Doc Harris Stadium this spring. They are anxious to play on fresh turf, and to be surrounded by more soccer fans.

“Chris Miller and I got to go out there and kick the ball around one day, while the girls were practicing,” White said. “The stadium is so big, and the turf is so nice. It makes you feel like you’re playing at the next level.”

Klein and White said they grew up in one of the best places to play soccer. They hope future Camas soccer players take advantage of all the opportunities their hometown offers.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the competitiveness of the game, but success comes from teamwork, building chemistry and having fun,” Klein said. “We were all serious about soccer, but we were also the best of friends.

“When you’re playing soccer for Camas, you are playing for one of the best communities around,” she added. “Stick with that, and be thankful for that.”