- Class of 2022
After five years of making friends and building memories at Cape Henry Collegiate, Kyle Usonis will head to Loyola University Maryland in August to continue his academic and athletic career. As one of 12 seniors who made collegiate athletic commitments, he is excited to join their NCAA Division I soccer program and bring his love of the sport as well as his varsity, club, and semi-pro experience to the Loyola Greyhounds.
Head Soccer Coach Mr. Dave Brun and Assistant Coach Mr. Brian Facemire describe Kyle as a consummate leader on and off the field. In addition to receiving TCIS Player of the Year honors at the end of his senior season, Kyle received a glowing accolade from CHC Assistant Athletic Director Mr. Tyler Faubert.
“A stalwart since donning the Varsity Boys Soccer kit in 2018 as a freshman, Kyle is arguably the most skilled player on the field at any given moment and the unwavering leader for Cape Futbol,” wrote Mr. Faubert. “Amassing an impressive number of points through his four-year journey, Kyle positioned himself as one of the best central midfielders in CHC history.”
Undoubtedly, Kyle Usonis made an impact on the soccer pitch; however, this standout senior also leaves an indelible mark on the broader CHC community, beginning with me. As his Eighth Grade English teacher, I can clearly remember Kyle as a new student: an innately polite and reserved guy surrounded by a fun-loving, rowdy bunch of students. With his ever-calm, humble exterior, Kyle unwittingly became the one to watch. Without too many words, he showed his new friends how cool it was to listen, work hard, do the right thing – and still have fun!
Flash forward to the 11th-grade version of Kyle: his older brother, Philip Usonis ‘18, had hyped up my Upper School Journalism class so much that Kyle had to take it. In a class devoted to asking questions, analyzing responses, and writing articles, he remembers our open, respectful discussions about current events and issues, particularly one compelling talk about sports betting with Cole Downs ‘20. While I vividly remember their conversation, what stands out more is how Kyle was still the same honest, focused young man who made it cool to be a steady, engaged learner and a diligent, motivated journalism student.
It comes as no surprise that Kyle’s reputation as a hardworking student-athlete extends beyond my classes.
“I appreciate the fact that, in class, he is extremely focused and all business. I also appreciate that he gets all of his work done on time - and well - despite his demanding soccer schedule,” said Mr. Scott McGraw, who taught Kyle in AP Comparative Government.
Mr. Bryan Rudolph agrees, saying Kyle has done a great job balancing his academic and athletic commitments. As difficult as Calculus can be, Kyle “brings a ton of positivity and excitement to class each day. He collaborates with others, asks great questions, and just seems to have fun learning.”
Kyle’s Spanish 5 teacher, Mrs. Deanna Stepanovich adds, “His leadership skills, maturity, positive attitude, and his way of motivating others are just a few of his best qualities. I appreciate his enthusiasm and active participation in class activities and discussions.”
Kyle’s impressive academic characteristics deftly cross over to the soccer field. For Kyle, the soccer field is a metaphorical oasis, a place that offers excitement and peace, challenges and solutions. After nearly eight hours of school each day, he still possesses energy and passion for the game. In 12 years, it hasn’t lost its allure and excitement. In this magical place, Kyle pours in intensity and finds resolve. Constantly thinking and assessing strategy, he carries skills learned in the classroom, including collaboration and critical thinking, and funnels them instinctively into the game.
In all areas of athletics, Kyle is a leader and an achiever. He approaches every practice, scrimmage, and game with equal measure: every step is important to reaching the overall goal of winning championships. As one of the senior captains, he is a true model of consistency, intensity, and ambition. Sports reports not only from CHC but also through Beach Football Club regularly recount his dynamic successes on the field with assists and points scored.
With all these qualities and accomplishments combined, it’s no wonder that he sought out and was ultimately invited to play on an elite national team in Dallas, Texas during his junior year. With our accessibility to remote instruction, Kyle was able to arrange weeks of intense practice and competition in Texas while still attending classes virtually. His work never suffered despite time zone differences, a grueling practice schedule, or separation from parents and home. Since that time, Kyle pursued more club and semi-pro opportunities through Beach FC, Lions Bridge Football Club, and Athletic Club of the Commonwealth as a starting midfielder.
In his college search, Kyle obviously looked for schools with dynamic soccer programs; however, he also considered those he might attend without soccer at the forefront. His range of choices included West Virginia University, James Madison University, University of Tennessee, George Mason University, University of North Carolina at Asheville, William & Mary, Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, and the University of South Carolina.
“I think the recruitment process was one of the hardest things I have done. Between college visits, ID camps, and talking to numerous coaches, it was beyond exhausting,” said Kyle.
Due to the pandemic, the NCAA gave all athletes an extra year of eligibility. As a result, for the classes of 2021 and 2022, most colleges were not actively recruiting anymore. With the support of his family, coaches, and mentors, Kyle carefully weighed his options and visited several college campuses.
Thanks to his impressive recruiting video, the coaching staff at Loyola University Maryland reached out to him several times, offering him another program to consider. During his visit to Baltimore, Kyle fell in love with the campus and “unreal” sports facilities. He felt like he clicked with the soccer team as well as the coaches, who all had such good chemistry.
“I really wanted to play soccer at the next level. After my visit with Loyola, I knew it was the right choice for me,” Kyle said.
As he leaves the familiar halls of CHC, Kyle has no regrets. He is thankful to have created bonds back in Eighth Grade with friends like Eli, Kade, Nathan, Mitchell, Gavin, and Neos – friends for a lifetime. He appreciates all of his teachers and coaches who supported him and challenged him to become better since he joined the School.
“The thing that changed the most about me is my appreciation for what Cape Henry offers every student. I’ve realized that any teacher is there for you at any moment, whether it’s school-related or not,” said Kyle, who urges younger students to form those bonds. “Be sure to talk with teachers, staff, and coaches. Ask for help whenever and wherever. Don’t be afraid to have full-blown conversations no matter how busy they seem. You never know how that will impact you.”
Within our K-12 community, Kyle discovered the benefits of making personal connections. Whether he was in class, on the field, in the hallways, or even walking his younger brother, Donovan Usonis ‘30 to his Lower School classes, he shared his kind, polite manner with everyone he encountered, and it made a difference.
Kyle, I know I speak for many CHC faculty members when I tell you how blessed we have been to have taught and encouraged such a positive, confident young man. I have loved watching you grow and challenge yourself over the past five years. Your love for your family, friends, and soccer is obvious, and your ambition for the future seems limitless. I wish you a lifetime of opportunities to embrace, succeed, and shine!