Bully of the Big 12: Kourtney Camy makes big impact


Brian Achenbach/Iowa State Daily

No. 9 freshman defender Kourtney Camy moves off the ball during Iowa State’s 2-1 loss to Texas Tech on Sept. 27 at the Cyclone Sports Complex.

Alex Gookin

As freshman Kourtney Camy looked at the scoreboard at the beginning of the second half of the game against Northern Iowa, she saw a misleading story of a close game as the Cyclones led 1-0.

But she knew better. She played all 45 minutes of the first half on defense, not allowing a single Panther shot and frustrating the struggling offense. No matter how dominant her defense looked, that 1-0 score would signify a struggle.

So she changed it. With nobody around her from at least 35 yards out, she fired a bullet just out of the goalkeepers reach. 

“It was awesome,” Camy said of her first career goal. “Especially since it was with my left foot and all my coaches make fun of me because I have a crap left foot.”

Camy’s journey to Ames in itself was a little bit like a long, left-footed goal: unexpected and impressive.

Last fall, Camy was a freshman in college for about a week. Enrolled at Arkansas State, she wasn’t happy, and before classes had even started, she packed her bags and headed back home to Colorado.

“I was really late to commit [to a school] so I just chose a school that gave me [scholarships],” Camy said. “It definitely wasn’t the caliber I wanted to play at.”

It is back in Colorado where Iowa State became part of the equation. She had played soccer for the Olympic Development Program where she was instructed by now-ISU coach Tony Minatta.

“She contacted us in the fall last year,” said coach Wendy Dillinger. “She came on a visit and decided this is where she wanted to be, so we picked her up in January.”

Camy spent what should have been her freshman year preparing herself to be a Cyclone, an advantage most incoming players don’t have. Staying fit was the biggest challenge, according to Camy, although her numbers this season don’t suggest a problem.

As the Cyclones’ season got off to a fast start, going 3-0, Camy was there for about every minute of it. She played 260 of the 270 minutes in the Cyclone’s first three wins.

If not for a red card against Minnesota that forced her to be sidelined for almost a game and a half and a lingering shin problem, Camy might have been the most active Cyclone on the team.

“Those defensive backs are our anchors, and you don’t want to change your anchors if you don’t have to,” Dillinger said. “We were lucky to get Kourtney here in the spring last year so she could step in and make a difference like she has.”

Camy enjoyed the early season minutes as well, although she noted her conditioning needed to improve before conference play. Both she and Dillinger feel that, as the competition heats up, so will Camy.

Dillinger said Camy was a player she expected to make an immediate impact, especially in Big 12 play. She applauded Camy’s first conference performance against Texas Tech where she forced multiple turnovers and made herself a defensive presence.

However, Camy is not just another defender on the field. She thinks of herself as “that” defender on the field: the one opponents fear.

“I definitely would never want to mess with her on the field,” Dillinger said. “I think forwards see her as an intimidating presence. She tackles hard; she goes after everything and with [everything] she can do. … Forwards are going to try to avoid her.”

Camy’s size helps her dominate smaller forwards. Standing at 5 feet 10 inches, she is the tallest pure defender on the team and is trumped only by  Haley Albert, a 6-foot-1-inch midfielder.

Her longer legs and bigger build act as a wall to an attacker and often result in a turnover. At times, the wall she creates can come off as overly aggressive.

Her size and aggressiveness has gotten her into a bit of trouble at times. Camy received a yellow card against Minnesota before being shown the red card two minutes later, ejecting her from the game.

As the team gets further into Big 12 play, opponents’ size and aggressiveness increase, and Camy will be a key part of competing with the higher level of competition. As a developing leader on a senior-led team, Camy has set her goals high.

“I am definitely striving to get some sort of All-American award,” Camy said. “I want my team to make the Big 12s this year; that’s our goal. Recruits are getting better each year, so we are excited for the future.”