Athlete Profile!! Caroline Bonomo '23 is a leader for the Rabun Gap soccer team, is one of the starters, and is a tri-sport athlete! Caroline loves the culture of being an Eagle and is also a member of the volleyball and swim teams.
How long have you been playing soccer? Are there other teams that you play for?
I have been playing soccer since I was seven years old. I currently do not play for a club, but before I became a boarder at Rabun Gap I played for Carolina Mountain Soccer Club.
What position do you play?
Last year, my sophomore year, I played primarily center back. This year, I usually play right back, but I also play center midfield and center back.
What inspired you to play soccer?
My older sister, Sophia, grew up dancing and playing soccer. So, like any little sister, I wanted to be just like her. After a few years of “dance” (I use that term very loosely because I was absolutely atrocious at it), I decided to focus on the sport that I absolutely adored, and had a knack for: soccer.
What is the best part about playing for the Eagles soccer team?
The best part of our team here at Rabun Gap is our culture. This year, Coach Greener carefully selected a group of girls that love the sport as much as she does, and as much as I do. I always look forward to practice and games, because every day I leave feeling absolutely exhausted but unconditionally supported by my teammates and coach. I am so excited to see how the program grows over the next few years as players continue to develop together.
What has been the most exciting game so far for you?
While I am excited to play any game, my favorite game so far as a Rabun Gap player was last year’s Rabun County game. I was playing center back for a majority of the game, and I had three awesome slide tackles. I was assigned to cover their best forward, a senior who was already committed to play in college. I am still incredibly proud of myself for the way I absolutely shut her down. The game got even better from there. In the second half, I was moved up to play right forward. In that position I was able to score two goals, one of which was assisted by Claudia Lopez (class of 2021). We ended up winning the game 3-2.
I had a similar experience just a few days ago when we played against Highlands Academy. In the first ten minutes of the game, Gracie Scott '24 sent me an incredible ball across the front of the goal, and I was able to score off of it. I absolutely love playing with Gracie - that girl is going places. She scored two goals of herself and absolutely dominated the midfield. Later in the game, I had a miraculously clean slide tackle in our box after I ran down their center forward. Everyone performed well that day, and we beat Highlands Academy 7-1.
What led you to come play soccer at Rabun Gap?
When I transferred to Rabun Gap for my sophomore year, I was super excited for all of the opportunities our school had to offer. I loved trying a new sport (volleyball) and I loved swimming with new teammates in the winter, but deep down I was impatient to be able to sprint down the soccer field again. My previous school did not have a soccer team. So, while I did play club, I did not have the opportunity to play with my classmates or close friends. I think what draws so many athletes to come play for Rabun Gap is the obvious sense of community and family that each team has - especially the girl’s soccer team. This sense of family continues to guide me through growth as a player and person every day.
What is the hardest part of being a student-athlete? How has the environment and people here at Rabun Gap helped you?
The hardest part of being a student athlete is time management. There have been a lot of days this year when I have felt completely overwhelmed with the combination of homework, practice, and exhaustion - especially as a junior taking several APs. Luckily, Coach Greener is also my AP Language and Composition teacher, so she has helped me navigate through my educational and athletic life from both sides. All the teachers at Rabun Gap care immensely about their students and are always available to provide extra help if need be. Thank you, Mrs. Jenkins, Mr. Demmler, Madame Shook, Mr. Vignolini, Mrs. Manoogian, and Ms. Greener for all of the support you have provided for me this year. I could not have possibly been a successful tri-sport athlete and student without your help.
What makes playing at Rabun Gap special to you?
Rabun Gap’s culture is what sets it apart from any other institution. I have had the opportunity to compete with kids from all over the world, an experience that I will be eternally grateful for. I love how many multi-sport athletes are on campus, like my closest friend, Calea Jackson '23 from Nassau, Bahamas. Calea and I met on JV volleyball sophomore year; it was the first time either of us had played the sport. Fast forward to the spring, and I was fully enthralled in soccer while Calea went on to become the state champion in both discus and shotput. The entire athletic community here at Rabun Gap is beautifully intertwined, and we all support each other, no matter what sport we are playing.
What is your favorite thing about your coaches?
My favorite thing about Coach Greener is how down to earth she is. She was a boarding student at Rabun Gap herself, and it’s really funny to share stories with each other about our different experiences here. She is super goofy and witty, along with being dangerously smart and incredibly blunt. She never fails to make me laugh, but pushes my limits everyday, whether that be on the field or in the classroom. She is my teacher, mentor, coach, and friend, and I don’t think she realizes how much I look up to her - how much we all do.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to spend the majority of my free time here at Rabun Gap with my friends. I have met so many beautiful people here, and have learned so much from them. I love listening to my friend’s hilarious stories and going on adventures around campus with them. Every person I meet, whether they are from Nigeria, Germany, England, China, Ghana, Canada, America, or anywhere else in the world, reflects a different cultural perspective. At Rabun Gap, I have grown into a well-rounded young woman, and a huge part of that process is attributed to the people I have surrounded myself with. I hope that every Rabun Gap student fully embraces the opportunity to learn from everyone in our community, as each person brings their own unique experiences, gifts, hardships, and triumphs.
What's your favorite class and why?
My favorite class is AP United States History with Mr. Demmler. I have always loved history, especially World War II. APUSH has allowed me to explore eras of American history I have always been passionate for, as well as eras I am less familiar with. Mr. Demmler is also one of my favorite people on campus. He has a super chaotic sense of humor that never ceases to make class interesting.
What are your plans for after high school?
Although I am not entirely certain what career path I will take after high school, I plan to study a combination of history, English, political science, international relations, and/or government. I am also not certain about which college I will attend, but my top choice at the moment is William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. William and Mary has a joint degree program where students can spend two years at William and Mary and two years at St. Andrews in Scotland. I hope to partake in this program in the future.
What other school activities or organizations/other sports are you involved with?
This year, I played on both the JV and varsity volleyball teams and I also competed on the varsity swim team. I have met so many incredible people on the various teams and I am so grateful for the opportunity to play a diverse range of sports at Rabun Gap. I have also recently found out that I have been selected as a prefect for the 2022-2023 school year, and I am super excited to become even more involved with student life on campus as a leader in our beautiful community.