Kyleigh Bland needed a lot of patience during her first two years as a member of the Broadneck girls soccer team.
Bland, a goalie, played behind a senior as both a freshman and sophomore, but she clearly had the skills to be a starter.
And Bland probably would have been a starter for some teams around the county as a freshman. For Broadneck, she appeared in a few games that year. In 2021, Broadneck coach John Camm gave her more playing time.
“My sophomore year, we scored a lot of goals,” Bland said. “And I played for most of the second halves.”
Camm said you could have made a case for her to start during her sophomore campaign.
Finally, in her junior year, she became a starter. Bland quickly proved her mettle and had a stellar season.
Bland finished with a whopping 12 shutouts for a 14-1-4 team while earning Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro honors and second-team All-State by the Maryland Association of Coaches of Soccer.
Her top performance came in a 0-0 tie with Notre Dame Prep of the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference. She recorded 17 saves.
Bland holds the school record for shutouts (21) and saves (250) in a career.
“She is the best goalie we have had,” Camm said. “We had a really tough schedule last year, and she played well in every one of those games. She is unflappable and makes great saves at big moments.”
Bland looks forward to playing soccer in college. She has been recruited by several schools, including Longwood University and Bridgewater College of Virginia, and Howard University in Washington, D.C. Bland carries a 3.88 grade-point average, and she could end up with a soccer scholarship.
“I am still deciding where I want to go,” Bland said. “Location is a big thing for me. I am not trying to go too far away — like three to five hours.”
Bland said a big part of her development came from playing for the Crofton-based Maryland United Football Club for the past three years. Her ability to analyze the game, her technique and her soccer IQ are among the things she improved.
Bland plays and trains year-round with Maryland United.
“She has gotten excellent training from that group,” Camm said. “She made a big jump once she joined Maryland United. She has learned to study the game, read the game and watch film.”
Bland, now a senior, possesses all the skills that coaches covet: size (5-foot-9), instincts, outstanding hands and excellent communication skills.
Bland has helped Broadneck to another excellent season, registering nine shutouts for the 9-2-1 Bruins, who want to make another deep postseason run. They lost in a Class 4A state semifinals last year and the state final in 2021.
“Regardless of who we are playing, we feel we have a good chance of winning,” Broadneck assistant girls soccer coach Mike Malone said. “She just makes the team more confident in front of her, which is the biggest thing.
“We know if we make a mistake that you have a goalie that is going to be able to step up and make a big save,” he added.
Bland understands more individual honors will be coming after this season.
“I think it shows my dedication and that I have put in a lot of work,” Bland said of the recognition she has received.