NFCA Athlete Volunteer Earns MVP Honors

July 6, 2011

NFCA Athlete Volunteer Earns MVP Honors

Celiac Awareness & Soccer All-Star Kelsey Holbert Makes Local Headlines.

In 2009, Illinois area teen Kelsey Holbert made CeliacCentral headlines for her outstanding fundraising efforts, having organized an annual “Celiac Attack” soccer tournament that raised nearly $2,500 to benefit NFCA!

This year, Kelsey is making headlines for her work on the field, and was recently profiled by her local paper, the Suburban Times.

Until 7th grade, Kelsey Holbert wasn’t aware of all the harmful products that couldn’t touch her lips. The 2011 Spring Girls All-Area MVP, who just recently wrapped up a four-year career with Lyons Township’s girls soccer team, discovered through uncomforted feelings in her stomach and doctor visits that she has celiac disease. Kelsey’s grandmother also has celiac disease, which is not a shock because it has proven to be genetic.

“’I used to get constant stomach aches, which was caused by the gluten eating away at the lining in my stomach, and I was not absorbing the nutrients,’ Holbert said. ‘I’ve had it my whole life and I never realized how bad it was until I fixed the problem.’”

Throughout the last 5 years, Kelsey has directly managed the foods she’s be consuming and has thrived on a gluten-free diet.

“As a senior, she earned a spot on the all-West Suburban Silver all-conference team, and the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association named her all-sectional, all-state and all-Midwest.

“‘Kelsey is one of the most dynamic players I have ever coached,’ said LT coach Bill Lanspeary. ‘Technically, she has as much skill on the ball as anybody. As fast as she is going, the game seems to slow down for her. She will make a great addition to Milwaukee both on and off the field. I don’t think she will have any trouble stepping in because of how hard she works and how smart she is. She was such a great leader and role model.’”

This upcoming fall, Kelsey plans to help others with the disease adjust as well. As she continues her soccer career at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she plans to study chemistry with an emphasis in nutrition and dietetics. Kelsey has been committed to the University since November 2009.

“’It was the first school I visited and it always felt right,’ said Holbert, who leaves for Milwaukee on July 24. ‘Junior year is tough academically, and I wanted to get the recruiting process out of the way. Based off the information I was able to gather, I chose Milwaukee over Northwestern.’”

Hooray, Kelsey!

To read more about this story, visit the Suburban Times website.