The name Kemp is legendary in the girl’s soccer program at Camas High School.
Madison Kemp is a former three-time United Soccer Coaches All-American selection. She was also a part of CHS girl’s soccer program who went on four consecutive trips to the WIAA state tournament final four. In addition, she was a member of the State Championship winning team in 2016.
During Kemp’s senior year she was unanimously named team captain and finished the year with 53 goals under her belt. She was also awarded the All-League-Scholar-Athlete award for her dedication in the classroom.
Kemp made the decision to take her talents up north and is currently playing for the University of Gonzaga. She highlighted the many perks of being up in Spokane and playing for Coach Chris Watkins.
But first, she reflected on her time at CHS and what it means to be a Papermaker.
She said, “The Camas culture prepared me to understand the importance of a team culture, and playing for something bigger than yourself.”
Kemp also emphasized the sort of impact former legendary CHS Girl’s Coach, Roland Minder, had on her individually and the program collectively.
“Minder to me was more than just a coach, to me he was a true leader. Minder held us to an extremely high standard for any high school coach there is, that is rare, that is one of the reasons that made Minder extraordinary,” she said.
Kemp added, “Minder didn’t make becoming the best easy on us, we had to work to be the best, it wasn’t all-natural talent. That is something we as a team and our coaches here at Gonzaga respect, hard work.”
After a ruinous knee injury in a Gonzaga women’s soccer preseason training session last year, Kemp battled her way back to the turf in time for the 2020 season. Just days after she returned to practice, the West Coast Conference postponed its fall soccer season to the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Throughout the fall there was quite the number of restrictions we had to navigate as a program. But, our coaches and the Gonzaga facility did such a great job doing everything they could so we could continue to get better every day, which I believe we did,” Kemp said.
As a Division 1 student-athlete, Kemp shared a unique perspective on how to balance Covid and collegiate sports.
She said, “COVID has very much been a learning experience for athletes as we have gone our whole lives essentially having no restrictions on what we do, then one day COVID altered everything. But, for our program, there is a small number of things if anything that can deter us from clocking in every day and working hard to achieve what we desire, and since COVID we have continued to clock in daily.”
Kemp also reflected on a devastating knee injury that kept her sidelined for the entirety of the Bulldog’s 2019 season.
She said, “Since the conference has started I am now at a place where I feel a lot more comfortable and soccer feels natural again. I am thankful to be part of a program that has put their faith in me as a player and given me opportunities after such a severe injury.”
Kemp looked at this current season with sheer optimism. The injury seemed to enhance her love for the game and reminded her to not take any moments for granted on the pitch.
She said, “This season has been everything I’ve hoped for and more, it has been a huge year of learning, growth, and most of all a starting point for the player I hope to eventually be at the collegiate level. It was definitely difficult at first adjusting to the game again because it had been so long that I have been away from a 90-minute game!”
“There isn’t really any lows I can think of and any I can think of can easily be turned into highs, like, we are a young team but we have so much untapped potential it is scary. There’s not much to complain about as we are being gifted the chance to compete,” Kemp added.
She went into depth on the kind of culture Coach Watkins and the team have cultivated up in Spokane.
She said, “As a team, our culture is something we hold to the utmost value, we thoroughly understand that culture is how we become a unit, how we foster a bond that will show up day in and day out. Where we find our common “why”, every individual of the Gonzaga Women’s Soccer program understands that our culture is a commitment and not just to ourselves but to something bigger than ourselves.”
Being a very luminary figure in a small-knit town like Camas does bear a burden and Kemp unequivocally accepts it. The sort of impact she has made will have an everlasting influence on the aspiring soccer players in the community. She shared some words of wisdom for those who have the same fire for the sport as her.
She said, “If I could tell myself one thing as a young soccer player it would be your ceiling is much higher than you think it is. My game has always been multifaceted but I never knew I was capable of expanding it so much, additionally, doing things I thought were outside of my role.”
Kemp added, “As a young woman learn to defy the odds, don’t let anyone define you, be courageous, strong, different, willing, not afraid to be uncomfortable because growth is taking place when you are uncomfortable and remember you are better than people think you are you just have to believe in yourself.”