Take Me Back: New Wave Blue Wave With Caylee Waters


Sophie Haas (right), 14, of Darien Youth Lacrosse in Connecticut interviews Caylee Waters — a Darien standout who was a two-time IWLCA Goalie of the Year at North Carolina and has trained with the U.S. national team since 2015.

This story appears in the Championship Edition of USA Lacrosse Magazine. Join our momentum.

“Take Me Back”connects today’s lacrosse stars with the next generation of players from their hometowns. This month, Sophie Haas, 14, of Darien Youth Lacrosse in Connecticut interviews Caylee Waters — a Darien standout who was a two-time IWLCA Goalie of the Year at North Carolina and has trained with the U.S. national team since 2015.

Sophie: When did you start playing? And when did you start playing goalie?

Caylee: I started as a sixth-grader. I was a midfielder. I really loved scoring goals. That’s what I did in the other sports. They put me in goal in seventh grade. In our small town, people knew my family. I have three brothers. They thought, “Caylee’s not scared of the ball, so let’s throw her in the cage.” I didn’t think of it that much until I got to eighth grade. In the winter, I was skiing and I broke my leg. I couldn’t play lacrosse at all that season. That’s what made me realize, “Oh, I actually like goalie. I miss it.” When I recovered over the summer, I was pretty ambitious wanting to get back into goalkeeping.

Sophie: Sixth grade seems really late to me. The game is developing so much. I started in first grade. Now kids are starting even younger.

Caylee: I think that’s part of the reason why I love the sport so much, because it was new to me. My mind was more developed. I had to think about how I could get better. I wanted to keep up with my friends. I’m very, very competitive.

Sophie: What other sports did you play? How do you think those helped you in lacrosse?

Caylee: I was a sports fanatic. I played tackle football until sixth grade. Soccer was my primary sport. Played basketball, played baseball and then my favorite time of year was the summer when I got to do swimming, diving, tennis and water polo.

Sophie:  Did you belong to a summer club?

Caylee: Yeah, Middlesex Club. You?

Sophie: I went to Wee Burn. I used to swim and dive, too. It’s super fun.

Caylee: Tennis is strong at Wee Burn, right?

Sophie: Yeah, but I mean, we get crushed by Middlesex. I play hockey and soccer as well.

Caylee: Oh, jealous. I always wanted to do hockey. Early wakeup calls.

Sophie: What advice would you give girls going through the recruiting process?

Caylee: Make sure you’re always having fun with the sport. For me, I was just there with my friends. It was never too intense. We knew what goals we had, but we made sure to have fun with it. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself. Things will work out. You do have to make sacrifices, pave your own path and be committed to that. But certainly, have fun.

Sophie: Do you have any superstitions?

Caylee: It’s gone through phases, all of them relating to food. In high school, I used to like eating a turkey sandwich from Mama’s (Mama Carmela’s Italian Deli in Darien). I miss that place. I love the turkey sandwich on a hard roll. Then when I got to college, I would eat French toast before every game. Like, a ton of French toast. I have such a sweet tooth.

Sophie: Who was your most influential coach?

Caylee: Phil Barnes is the assistant coach at Carolina. He focuses on the goalies. He came at goalkeeping from a different angle than me. I very much just relied on my athleticism. He knew that could only take me so far. He really pushed me, breaking down the position, focusing on angles and understanding these small elements of the game. 

Sophie: Lisa Lindley runs CT Grizzlies. I do clinics with her now. I’ll be playing at the high school next year and hopefully for her. She definitely has a very distinct coaching style. She pushes everyone and always makes us more competitive with each other.

Caylee: Yeah, you definitely want to play at a high level when Lisa’s watching.

Sophie: When did you fall in love with lacrosse? And when did you know you wanted to play in college?

Caylee: After my freshman season at Darien, we lost in the FCIAC playoffs. There was an 8-meter scored on me. It was just so sad, just feeling like there was unfinished business and that there was more of me to show — there was more I could grow in this sport. That’s when I fell in love. It was hard to lose, and just having that hunger to get back on the field with the team. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I received an email from Lisa about a college coach who was interested in me. I remember just freezing. “Whoa. OK, this is real.” That following summer, I went to a couple of camps and was like, “Yeah, this is what I want. I want to play with girls across the country and bring my game up to the next level.”

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