Any athlete can be excited about the prospect of playing sports at the collegiate level. Camdenton senior Cordelia Dallam will get to make an impact right away.

Any athlete can be excited about the prospect of playing sports at the collegiate level. Camdenton senior Cordelia Dallam will get to make an impact right away.

Dallam signed with Stephens College on Tuesday with family, friends and coaches in attendance and upon doing so, she will be the next starting goalkeeper for the NAIA school in Columbia.

“I’ll have a chance to make captain and I’ll really get to build up the team,” the senior said of her future.

“It actually feels pretty nice because I am not going to go in and sit bench or wait a couple of years before I can play. I get to play right away and it is pretty nice to know I am going to have that big of an impact on the team. I’m really excited.”

Dallam probably should be, knowing she was wanted, as she mentioned Stephens pursuing her goalkeeping talents for the past two years.

“The coach is a really awesome coach,” the senior stated of Stephens head coach Kurtis Boardsen. “I think just that push, knowing he is going to be behind me as I play, was really good.”

At Camdenton, Dallam earned a starting role as a freshman and showed her versatility playing nearly every position on the pitch in addition to goalkeeper for the past three years. However, it was not until she started playing the high school game that she became a goalkeeper.

“When I first started as a goalkeeper I was really nervous and it took just building myself up from there not knowing what I was doing,” she recalled.

The position also required some toughness. When the Lakers won the Parkview Tournament last season, Dallam played with a broken leg and came up with some key says to ensure her team would bring home the title.

“Definitely takes a mindset where you just have to be ok with getting kicked in the face or getting hit and taking some punches you really don’t want to take,” she said of the responsibility to protect the net.

It is a trait Camdenton coach Chris Byington certainly appreciates and he has no doubt Dallam will find success in her next chapter as well. The best part is the senior can now relax as she gets ready for her final season with the Lakers this spring.

“She has grown a ton over the years, is a great leader and I know she loves her teammates. I know she is excited about the season and I think it is always cool to get this done with so you can just go have fun during the high school season, not have to worry about stuff and really just savor every moment of it,” he pointed out. These girls, they know by now that before you know it, it is going to be over and you will never have these memories back.”

Part of those memories are all the times Dallam put in the time and dedication to improve the craft on and off the pitch. The senior has been Academic All-Conference the past three years and is a member of the National Honor Society. The work went well beyond high school, too, with Dallam playing club soccer for the past three years.

“That was it. That is how you get to the next level and Dallam did that,” Byington said. “She is an excellent student and an awesome person, too, so you add those things up and of course, it does not surprise me that she is going to go play and pursue her goals afterwards.”

Dallam was a member of the club Sporting Springfield and the team was Heartland Division 1 League champions in 2019, a State Cup finalist in the same year and Disney Showcase champions in 2020. With Dallam protecting the net, Sporting Springfield did not suffer a single loss in Heartland or the Disney Showcase and she only gave up a single goal. The senior has also played in the Branson Futsal Tournament the past three years, earning second place in the latter two.

“Cordelia is a great teammate, a great member of the group and an integral part of the group’s success,” Sporting Springfield coach Eric Sorlie stated. “Whether things went her way or did not go her way, she kept her head up, kept training hard, kept pushing to make herself and teammates better and I think things paid off in the long run for her. She is a great kid and I wish her the best of luck.”

Dallam intends to be pre-med when she arrives on the campus at Stephens and besides the opportunity to continue her collegiate soccer career, she was also enticed by a program the college has where students can bring their own pets or foster a dog or cat through the local animal shelter. In doing so, the dorm room is cheaper.

Whatever the next chapter holds, she will certainly not forget her time as a Laker.

“It was difficult at times, but worth it all in the end. All the pain and hard work we put in, just seeing the outcome in certain things,” Dallam said, looking back. “We won two tournaments last year and really pushed through several tournaments before that. Getting to see where you’ve come through the beginning of the season to the end, freshman year to senior year, how far we’ve come as a group and individually.”

Dallam is hoping she and her teammates can capture a district title in her last run with the Lakers and the belief will be key.

“Believe in yourself and just always put in that extra mile and extra hard work because it will get you there in the end,” she said.

That chapter is on the horizon. Once it comes to an end, Byington will still be there to support his players. One of the coach’s favorite traditions is catching up with former players as he goes and watches them play the college game. He said there is plenty to like about Stephen’s new addition.

“You are going to have an awesome player who works her tail off and is never settling for anything,” the coach said. “I’m kind of envious because we are going to miss her next year a ton. At the same point, I know she is going to do well, excel and really work hard and lead the team up well.”