MKA senior soccer player, recently committed to College of Charleston, flanked by AD Todd Smith (L) and coach Rob Leather (R).
PHOTO BY ANDREW GARDA/STAFF

by Andrew Garda

garda@montclairlocal.news

Senior Dylan Ladda has been a part of a lot of success with the Montclair Kimberley Academy soccer team over his four years of high school. However, the three sectional final appearances, two Prep Championships and numerous winning seasons aren’t what stand out to his coach, Rob Leather.

“His words after the sectional final loss this year said a lot about him,” Leather said. “A lot of times that moment is about the seniors, but in that moment, as upset and disappointed as he was, [Ladda] made that about the core we have left and basically said ‘I’ll be following you wherever I am.’ That said a lot about his growth.”

One of the unique things for Ladda’s senior season was the captaincy he shared with fellow senior Seth Kaplan.

“They’re chalk and cheese, really,” Leather said. “They are very different personalities. They have very different interests, but they get on very well and have a lot of respect for each other.”

Ladda, who just committed to play Division 1 soccer at College of Charleston last week, took a few minutes to talk to us about MKA, Seth and more for this week’s Athlete Spotlight:

How did you and Seth balance your personalities as captains? Our friendship is kind of funny, but it’s built up to be a pretty strong one. He’s very tactical and smart, he knows all the fundamentals of the game and he kind of brings a solid, quiet leadership which makes everyone kind of focus. And I’m more of the loud, motivational type. But he’s done a great job of calming me down and showing me a new way to lead that actually factored into my leadership skills and made me a better leader overall.

What appealed to you about Charleston? I’ve always wanted to play in the south. If you’re going to go to college, why not do something different for four years? Charleston is a beautiful city… it isn’t overwhelmingly big, but it has enough going on and I just kind of fell in love with the campus and the style.

Do you know what you’ll be studying? I take a biomechanics class with Coach Leather and I like that a lot. I’m also into business finance, so you know, I’m just going to go there and see how I feel about things. They’re also known for their marine biology stuff, which isn’t something I was looking into but I’ll take a few classes and see if that interests me.

What will you miss most about MKA? It’s developed into a second home for me, being here since Pre-K. And I live, literally right up the road from it. So I spend a lot of my time here and…it’s going to be the same feeling as leaving my house or my family. It’s going to be hard not stepping on the field in the fall and playing for MKA, but I know I have a lot of stuff going on in the future.

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