Kennedy Tranter, the Lexington Catholic soccer standout who graduated early to begin her college career at Kentucky, left the UK team during winter training citing family concerns and has opted not to return.
"Within this last year, it's been a set of unfortunate and amazing situations that have kind of come together," said Brad Turpin, Tranter's longtime club coach at Lexington F.C. who was asked by the family to speak on her behalf. "It has zero to do with the UK women's soccer program. They (Tranter's family) feel like they've let them down a little bit, but Kennedy's mind is just going to other places."
Tranter, a forward, was part of three straight 11th Region championship teams for Lexington Catholic, a run that included trips to the state finals in 2015 and 2016. But her senior season began in the shadow of a personal tragedy when her step-brother Houston Wallace, 21, was killed in a car accident along with a friend last August.
Other setbacks within the family over the past year began to weigh on her as well, Turpin said, and she decided to focus on her studies at UK and helping out at home.
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Tranter stuck with Kentucky during a recruiting process that began for her in eighth grade and endured despite the firing of Jon Lipsitz as UK's head coach at the end of the 2016 season. Lipsitz's successor, Ian Carry, helped recruit Tranter as a UK assistant and maintained the commitment.
“Kennedy has elected to pursue a career as an academic student at the University of Kentucky without playing soccer and we respect her decision," UK said in a statement. "We know this has been a tragic and difficult time for Kennedy and her family, but she will always have the UK Women’s Soccer family to lean on. We wish her the best.”
Tranter remains enrolled at UK for the fall semester after earning a 3.5 GPA in the spring, Turpin said.
"She just needed a break," Turpin said. "Is this a permanent break? I can't tell you that. I don't know. She may a year from now decide she wants to play again. Whether she'll get that opportunity at UK or not — I doubt it — but she may find her love again and come back. ...
"I hope she does. The game would miss an awful good female talent if she doesn't come back in some way shape or form."