Freshmen women’s soccer goalies share special connection through childhood upbringings

Ryan McFadden, Sports Editor

When freshmen Emma Havrilla and Kailey Homoky arrived at Iona College to be members of the women’s soccer team, they already shared common interests, as both are goalies and strive to succeed academically and on the field.

That said, when they first met, little did Havrilla and Homoky know that they had more in common than sharing the same position—both were adopted at a young age.

“I didn’t know at first until Emma said something,” Homoky said. “But, we have always been close because [goalie] is such a hard position and we have similar goals and strengths.”

Havrilla felt her friendship with Homoky grew stronger since they come from similar upbringings.

“I found out recently that Kailey was also adopted and I kind of felt connected that I found someone else who also was adopted,” Havrilla said.

Havrilla, born in Moscow, was adopted by her parents at the age of two. Her brother, who isn’t blood related to Havrilla, was also adopted from there. At first, Havrilla had a hard time accepting being an adopted child, but her mindset started to change as she got older.

“[When] I was younger, I didn’t know what it was and my parents had to teach me more about it and I kind of wasn’t accepting of it,” Havrilla said. “But, as I’m growing older, I am figuring out who I am and how important it is.”

For Homoky, who was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, knowing she was adopted has made her relationship with her parents more special.

“When I was young, there wasn’t a specific time when my parents said something,” Homoky said. “I just think it made my relationship with my parents even more special because it’s something they chose to do and they want me there.”

Havrilla became interested in sports because of her father, who played Division 1 football at Bucknell University. Havrilla was inspired by her father and wanted to experience what it was like as a Division 1 athlete.

“Knowing my dad was a D1 football player was pretty cool and I looked up to him for it,” Havrilla said. “I want to step in his shoes and feel how he felt as an athlete at the time.”

Havrilla was a two-sport athlete before coming to Iona as she played both soccer and basketball, but her strong love for soccer was the reason she stuck with it moving forward.

Homoky, who moved to Iona from Florida, was being recruited by Iona’s coaching staff a few years prior to making her college decision.

“A few years ago, the coaching staff saw me play and we chatted a little bit,” Homoky said. “Years later, I get a call again saying there’s a clinic. I came up and from there I met all the girls and we had really good potential.”

Having family living up in the northern part of the country and getting away from Florida’s warm climate also played a factor in Homoky coming to New Rochelle.

“From the beginning, I was looking at schools in the Northeast because most of my family is up there,” Homoky said. “Also, I wanted to get away from Florida because it’s really hot.”

In regards to their current season, both Havrilla and Homoky have confidence Iona’s group of freshmen will continue to grow and help the Gaels compete for a MAAC title down the road.