Making a Commitment: Laila Booker’s Going to Yale!
Laila Booker in a Yale sweatshirt.

This month, I’m going to take the opportunity to brag about my daughter, Laila Booker. It would be easy for a proud parent like me to boast of the many proud moments I have of my son and daughter, so I try not to. But this one is worth it.

Laila, a junior at Good Counsel, plays soccer for her high school and on the club level. She just committed to attend and play for Yale University! I could stop there and the story would sound amazing as is, but it gets even better.

If you play competitive soccer long enough, you learn that the coveted high school players are the ones who score goals. In fact, the four girls from her current team who have already committed to play at universities are all goal scorers. My daughter plays defense.

My daughter’s list of dream schools has always been a short list of highly academic institutions. In the world of recruiting, this hasn’t made her process any easier. Meanwhile, several schools she isn’t familiar with have reached out to approach her with their interest. Good schools with names like St. Leo’s, Campbell, and Stetson all made appeals. Regardless of a school’s prestige, our policy has always been to connect with everyone with sincere gratitude, humility, and thanks. After all, they didn’t have to reach out to Laila, but they did, and in her preternaturally mature way, she has managed herself beautifully.

So when Stoney Brook University’s head coach scheduled a phone call with Laila several months ago, she conducted herself exactly the same way she always does, and the conversation went great.

Two weeks later, Laila received a text message at 7:00 a.m. on our way to the school bus stop. It was from the Stoney Brook head coach. It read:

“Laila, I’m writing to tell you that tonight I will be announcing that I am stepping down from the head coaching position at Stoney Brook University and tomorrow I will be announced as the head coach at Yale University. Are you interested?”

We literally had to pull over the car and wrap our heads around what happened.

Sometimes you can do everything right and put yourself in exactly the right place and position. You can make all the preparations necessary, and even after all of that, sometimes it comes down to a phone call from a place you never expected, from a person you never met, and for reasons you can’t explain. All of a sudden, everything works out far better than you ever could have planned for.

Is there a name for that? What would you call it?

We don’t know want to speculate, but we’re thankful that Laila has been given this extraordinary opportunity, which she has worked very hard to achieve, and was helped by a series of events beyond her control.

So now Laila looks forward to attending college at Yale. It’s time to start working more with my son, Quint!

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