Kristina Kelly received the phone call last week, and still had trouble understanding why a representative from the United Soccer Coaches in Kansas City kept using the word.

“He’d say ‘National’ but every time he said it, I was trying to figure out how it was related to Maine,” Kelly said, “because it didn’t seem possible that I would be selected as the National Player of the Year.”

The official announcement came Tuesday afternoon. Sure enough, Kelly, who led Camden Hills to four consecutive Class A state championships and earned three All-America awards along the way, is the National Player of the Year for high school girls, according to the United Soccer Coaches organization.

The USC also bestows player of the year honors for different levels of collegiate competition as well as for junior college and youth levels. Kelly is believed to be the first high school athlete from Maine to win a national player of the year award in any sport.

In 2010, Abbey Leonardi of Kennebunk High was named October Athlete of the Month by the National High School Coaches Association after winning the third of her four straight Class A cross country state titles.

Kelly, who played under restrictions from Coach Meredith Messer to score no more than three goals in regular-season games, finished with 159 goals and 58 assists as the Windjammers went 70-1-1. She plans to continue her career at Central Connecticut State University.

“I texted my coaches (at CCSU) and they couldn’t have been more excited,” said Kelly, who dispelled any notions of parlaying her award into a larger Division I college program. “I’m not looking for a big, flashy name. I like Central Connecticut and think I can fit in best. Hopefully, I can do well and make an impact there.”

Kelly will accept her award Jan. 18 in Baltimore at a ceremony and reception held in conjunction with the United Soccer Coaches Convention. The player of the year for high school boys is Kyle Cusimano, a senior at Bay High School in Bay Village, Ohio who has committed to play at Bowling Green State University.

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