Kyle Folds has entered the pantheon of great Saint Ignatius soccer players, joining the likes of Mark Blades '06, Matt Foldesy '12, Stephen Milhoan '17, and many others.
Folds has won Gatorade Ohio Boys Soccer Player of the Year honors.
Folds played a critical role for the Wildcats in helping to secure the program's ninth OHSAA Division I State Championship and the team's fifth national championship. He becomes the fourth soccer player in school history to earn the Ohio player of the year award.
"I'm overjoyed, this is awesome," said Folds. "It was a great day yesterday. I knew I was a top contender, but I had no idea how many were in the running. You never know. This is definitely a great way to cap off my youth career."
Folds is preparing to begin his journey at Indiana University. The No. 68 ranked player in the Class of 2020, Folds is training with Indy Eleven in Indianapolis, hoping to make an immediate impact for the Hoosiers.
Folds is in elite company with the Gatorade honors. Only six other Wildcats have won Gatorade Ohio Player of the Year honors – Stephen Milhoan '17 after highlight-filled 2015 and 2016 seasons on the pitch, Matt Foldesy '12 due to his efforts in leading the Soccer Cats to a second straight state title in 2011, Derek Dietrich '07 for his power at the plate for the Baseball Cats, Mark Blades '06 for guiding the Soccer Cats to the program's first national title in 2005, Pat Massey '01 for his excellent senior campaign on the football field in 2000, and Trent Zenkewicz '91 for a remarkable senior season for the Football Cats in 1990.
That is quite an assembly of talent.
Folds enjoyed an incredible senior season for the Wildcats, meriting the Gatorade honor with his remarkable ability to play just about any position, be it forward, midfield, or defender. Folds is a plug-and-play type of athlete who can make an impact no matter where he is at on the field.
Folds finished his senior year with 10 goals and 5 assists, and tallied 27 career goals and 10 career assists. Opposing coaches walked away in awe of the young player and his skillset. Folds could find the back of the net, like he did four times vs. University School, or he can quietly set up his teammates for success. Simply put, he's a fun player to watch.
Folds' trophy case is already full with plenty of honors from his four years at Wildcat High. Folds earned All-Ohio and All-Greater Cleveland recognition, he was invited to the 2019 Allstate All-American Cup and 2019 High School All-American Game, and he garnered ALL-USA Preseason honors. His talents did not go unnoticed locally or nationally.
Wildcats Head Coach Mike McLaughlin '85 definitely enjoyed coaching him at Saint Ignatius.
"Without a doubt, Kyle is a special soccer player and young man. Kyle has a unique combination of skill, determination, athleticism, and a great soccer IQ," McLaughlin says. "He was invaluable in helping us win the state and national championship this past season. I'm so happy for him, and I'm looking forward to watching him succeed at Indiana and beyond."
Folds loved being a Wildcat. He loved every part of the experience.
"I'll most remember playing with my teammates for the past few years. Everything about playing soccer at Ignatius was great, from Dutch camp, to the season, to the long bus rides, and to the team bonding. The coaches were unbelievable, they helped me to get better. It was nice having a safe spot in Coach Mike's office, he was always open and approachable. All of the coaches are great coaches, but they're nice people, too."
Folds is excited to continue his soccer journey with the Hoosiers.
"I'm playing with Indy Eleven now, and I'll keep working hard to get better and more fit over the summer," says Folds. "I'm excited to start with Indiana. But first I'd like to thank everyone who made this possible. I want thank my brother [Collin '22] for always pushing me. We are always outside doing something competitive, he's helped to give me that competitive edge. My parents have always been so supportive, they're helpful with everything I do. And my teammates and coaches – they've been amazing.
From all of us at Saint Ignatius, we wish Folds the best of luck! His future is quite bright in the Hoosier State.