By Jessika Harkay | Sports Writer
Coming up on the second month and ninth video since she created her YouTube vlog, senior defender Kylie Ross has reached over 30,000 subscribers and 440,000 views. What originally was just meant to be documentation of her final year at Baylor University ended up becoming her platform to inspire others, the senior said.
“Once it started gaining traction, I realized the words I was putting out there could really have an effect on people,” Ross said. “It’s just helped me realize it’s always been more than soccer. Now more than ever I realize that. […] Half the people that are following me don’t even play soccer; they just like to see our friendship and our team camaraderie.”
Ross said that she was inspired to leave her footprint on the program after watching the success of the United States in the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
“It was cool to see older soccer players I aspire to be like using their platforms for good and more than just soccer,” Ross said. “The coaches have always preached that we have this platform that we’ve been given and we have to use it for good. I never really understood the magnitude of that really.”
She said she realized the videos were more than something fun and something to look back on when she saw young girls following the channel.
“On each of these videos I’m posting, we’re getting hundreds and hundreds of comments and a lot of them are younger girls who are aspiring to play in college,” Ross said. “They’re just fascinated by how we use our faith in soccer and have so many questions about recruiting. I just hope I can be an inspiration and a point of contact and reference.”
The soccer player’s videos give insight on what it’s like to be a student athlete, including 5 a.m. practices, traveling, team-building exercises and the general life of a young-adult in college. Ross said the vlog was also an opportunity to bridge the experiences between student athletes and traditional students.
“It shines a light on how dedicated we are as student-athletes and gives people perspective,” Ross said.
Head coach Paul Jobson said the videos are a nice assent to the program, as long as it’s used with caution.
“It’s a positive thing as long as it’s not a distraction for yourself,” Jobson said. “It’s been a great window to others about what we do here at Baylor and what makes us special — as long as it’s not a distraction — but I don’t think it has been.”
The channel doesn’t interfere with Ross’ play, as the veteran Bear defender comes off a successful weekend after the team tied No. 2 USC and clinched a win over Gonzaga 2-1. In the overtime win against Gonzaga, Ross contributed to momentum with a season-high three shots, with two on target.
Ross credits everything to the sport she plays, describing that soccer has “100% shaped her as a person.”
“It’s the person I am, the teammate I am, the friend that I am, the daughter that I am, the sister that I am, the leader that I am,” Ross said. “It’s given me all these great qualities that I know are going to translate into whatever I do next and that in the end is the most important reason for playing sports.”
Ross, Jobson and tyhe rest of the team look to build off a well-performed weekend as they travel to Kansas State to take on the Wildcats at 7 p.m. Thursday.