For North Cross School varsity girls’ soccer captain India Helmer, soccer isn’t just a hobby it’s a passion—one that led her to officially commit to Division I Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. Helmer publicly signed at a ceremony Feb. 6 at North Cross School in Roanoke.
The event was attended by administrative staff, athletic staff, teammates, family and friends. It’s an achievement capping off a successful high school career that, to date, includes All-state honors, leading the VISAA Division II in scoring, All Timesland, and almost too many tournament honors to count.
“I have been India’s coach at North Cross from middle school through her varsity years,” said James Brown, girls’ soccer coach at North Cross. “I have truly enjoyed watching her grow and develop into the player she has become today. Her love of the game and strong work ethic have allowed her to achieve her ultimate goal of playing at the highest level in college. India has always had a nose for the goal that is quite evident by her statistics. However, her year round work in the gym and with the ball have definitely made her a stronger and more versatile player. During her tenure at North Cross School the team’s record is 57-21-3 and has been to four consecutive state tournaments including the state semi-finals in 2012. Our success has a lot to do with India’s efforts both on and off the field. India’s leadership and commitment will serve her well at Appalachian State.”
Averaging 20 goals and eight assists per season, Helmer was named MVP in 2012, and she has made her mark on the field. She has competed with the Olympic Development Program (ODP) District and Virginia State teams, and helped take her team to the Region I Tournament in 2012 where they made it to the finals.
“India is one of those players who takes what you tell her to heart, then goes out and gives you everything she has,” said Paul Shaw, coaching education director for the Virginia Youth Soccer Association. “She is not a player who is easily intimidated. Whether she’s playing against a larger, bigger, stronger team it doesn’t matter. She always gives 100 percent effort.”
Her success on the field has taken her to compete in Europe, and led her to participate in the Olympic Development Program and play with New River United, opportunities that Helmer believes have prepared her for success in her college career.
“Playing with ODP and the Virginia State team definitely brought me to the next level,” said Helmer. “The college level coaches at New River United really positioned my game to play at the collegiate level.”
According to New River United coach Kevin Voelker, India’s dedication and positive attitude ensure she’s poised to succeed.
“She’s an extremely dedicated athlete who enjoys practice as much as games,” said Voelker. “She has a fantastic attitude and wants to be given coaching tips and critiques. India’s motor is always on high; she is a tireless worker with a ton of potential.”
Helmer will enter Appalachian State University with the class of 2017 this fall and says she’s looking forward to the experience.
“From the time I arrived at ASU, I loved it,” Helmer added. “I love the environment and campus. I really bonded with the coaches and felt like a member of the team immediately. The thing I have always loved about soccer is that it’s a competitive game, but it’s also a team sport. If I have a bad game, I have ten other players on the field to pick me up.”
– Submitted by Whitney Campbell, North Cross School