For The Tribune

Kelley Sharp had myriad reasons why she chose Purdue University Calumet to continue her academics and soccer career.

The Seymour senior wanted to continue playing soccer, the game she loves, while she also fit in well academically.

Sharp said she fell in love with the campus upon her first visit and thought the brick buildings reminded her of Purdue and it’s not too far a drive from home.

Purdue Calumet is located in Hammond, and after next year it’ll be called Purdue Northwest.

A member of the NAIA, Calumet is a member of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Since earning full-time goalkeeper time two years ago, Sharp helped the Owls achieve a 9-6 record in 2014, and 8-8-2 this year.

She credits a lot of her success to Owls coach Greg Musser.

“I wouldn’t be here without coach Musser,” Sharp said. “He’s helped me so much. I’ve gotten so much better.”

While attending the university, Sharp plans on pursuing a career in veterinary work.

“Purdue has one of the best veterinarian schools in the country. I want to get that Purdue degree,” Sharp said.

At Calumet, Sharp looks forward to playing under coach Kellie Evans.

“Coach Kellie Evans is a great coach,” Sharp said. “She’s very personable and she said I could get four years of starting time. I’m competitive and I want to win, and coach Evans will get us there. I love the game and I want to play.”

Musser said he believes that Sharp’s skills will translate well to the college ranks.

“Kelley’s work ethic will get her a legitimate shot at playing,” Musser said. “She is definitely a goalkeeper by trade. Purdue Calumet is a new team, and this is their third or fourth year, so they are starting to build now. Her leadership will be hard to replace, and she’s very vocal on the field, and as a goalie you need that in your defense, to keep people in the right spots.”

Sharp has met some of her future teammates and said most of the players there are from Michigan.

“(Sharp) is the kind of student-athlete we look for and she’s bought in to our programs, like the weight training,” Owls athletics director Brandon Harpe said. “She’s an example of what hard work will do for you.”