Scholarship set up in honor of late youth soccer coach

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Flathead Rapids soccer coach Kelsey Whitby on the field with one of her teams.

A scholarship has been set up and a memorial is planned for a Flathead Rapids soccer coach who died this fall.

Kelsey Whitby, 31, died in October after a seven-year fight with glioblastoma brain cancer. Even while battling brain cancer Whitby continued to coach soccer.

Recently, a group from the Flathead Rapids, her husband Derrick Whitby and her mom Betsy Funk, completed the final details of a memorial and scholarship in her honor.

Whitby coached for the Rapids for six years and was a talented goalkeeper and captain of the Flathead High School Bravettes. She was known for her love for the game and her love for children encouraging everyone to have fun.

The Coach Kelsey Whitby “Like a Boss” Scholarship has been established with the Flathead Rapids to be awarded each season at $250 to go toward registration fees.

Whitby’s iconic line, “play like a boss,” was her way of telling players to find themselves through the game by allowing them to shut-out the rest of the world and get lost in the game to play with passion for themselves and their team.

“We wholeheartedly agree that Kelsey would be proud of the legacy that she left behind,” says family friend Amy Olson.

The scholarship is designated to go toward one returning Rapids female soccer player on a 10U or above team and is merit based. In applying for the scholarship, players are asked to answer two questions — what they love most about soccer and how they think they demonstrate similar characteristics on and off the field as Coach Whitby.

Additionally, the Kelsey Whitby Memorial is planned to be created near the playground at Smith Fields to continue to provide a safe space for young players to get outside and enjoy the game of soccer.

For more information on the scholarship, visit http://www.flatheadrapids.com/scholarships-1/ or on the memorial, http://www.flatheadrapids.com/kelsey-whitby-memorial/.

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