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‘Best Friend Telepathy’ Helping Emma Dailey and McKenna Martin Dominate for Karns City Girls Soccer Team

KARNS CITY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Since the fourth grade, Emma Dailey and McKenna Martin have had an almost paranormal friendship.

They can seemingly read each other’s minds. They often finish each other’s sentences. And they have the uncanny ability to know what the other one is going to do on the pitch for the Karns City girls soccer team.

(Above, McKenna Martin, left, and Emma Dailey have formed quite the dynamic duo for the Karns City girls soccer team).

“Best friend telepathy,” Dailey says, laughing. “I’m telling you.”

The combination on the attack has been dynamic for the Gremlins.

Martin is off to a torrid start with 20 goals in seven games. Dailey has been equally impressive with nine goals and 15 assists.

Their simpatico was no more evident than in a match against Redbank Valley earlier in the season when Dailey assisted on all five of Martin’s goals and had six total in a 9-3 victory.

“Me and McKenna have definitely been through a lot with soccer,” Dailey said. “We’ve been playing on the same team for eight or nine years now. We’ve just been together for so long, we’ve been able to build up that chemistry and now we’re putting that into play. It’s working for us.”

So solid is their connection, they have a difficult time describing it.

It’s just inherent. They don’t exactly know how or why they are completely in tune with each other. They just are.

“A switch just flips on,” Dailey said. “I mean, it’s our sixth sense, basically, just finding each other. We always end up finding each other. I think it’s because …”

Martin finishes her sentence, “We just know where each other is going to be at.”

It’s not surprising they have that kind of connection; The juniors have been virtually inseparable since they were little.

Dailey had always been into soccer. Understandable — her mother, Tracy, was a star for the Gremlins during her playing days, using speed as her weapon of choice.

Martin, though, not so much. Soccer wasn’t even in her orbit until the Daileys convinced her to give it a shot.

Tracy Dailey recognized early that Martin could be special because of her blazing speed. She observed this while watching Martin running in the backyard while playing with her daughter.

“Kind of off the bat I realized I had an advantage over everyone and that was my speed,” Martin said. “And then, over time, I kept working on it and the skills came along. I developed them, just kept practicing my shots and my skills and it’s turned into what it is and what I am now.”

What Martin is now is one of the most dangerous scorers, not only in District 9, but the state at the Class A level.

“McKenna’s finishing has definitely improved,” Coach Dailey said. “She’s always been quick and fast and can get by people, but she’s learned how to place the ball. Against Hickory, she had beautiful placement. She wasn’t trying to power the ball when she just had to put the ball where the keeper wasn’t. That’s something that is hard to teach because you have to stay composed in front of the net and she does that a lot.”

It also helps that the feeds she gets from Emma Dailey are usually right on her feet.

Dailey is extremely good at sending on target through-balls to a sprinting Martin.

“Not during my eight years have I seen two girls connect so well on the field,” Tracy Dailey said. “They read each other so well and they work off each other so well. If one scores, the other one is usually assisting.”

While Martin uses her pure speed to get by defenders, Emma Dailey uses a combination of speed and brawn.

Dailey is 5-foot-8 and strong. She’s not the blazer Martin is, but she’s no slouch when it comes to getting up the field with haste.

“Well, I don’t know how fast I am,” Dailey said, chuckling. “I’m not McKenna fast. I can remember the summer of ninth grade, I peaked — I was tall and muscular. I didn’t get my mom’s speed, but I got my dad’s strength and height. I think being physical is definitely one of my strengths. I’m just bigger than most girls just in the way I’m built, so I think I use that ability.”

Dailey and Martin are hoping to use their best friend telepathy to help Karns City get back the District 9 crown.

Last year, Clearfield unseated the Gremlins, 5-4, in the title game, snapping an eight-year run for Karns City as district champs.

The Gremlins are playing with an edge this season. Look no further than Martin and Dailey for an example.

“Last year definitely left a sour taste in my mouth just because we fought so hard until the end, but in my mind I didn’t feel like I did enough for my team and I let my team down,” Dailey said. “I hate that feeling. This season is kind of like, ‘Alright, we’re out for blood.’”

“That loss, it definitely is a motivation this year,” Martin added. “We have that fire now and that loss really sparked it. We’ve been focused. We’ve been working hard.”

Martin has some big goals for herself. She wants to reach 100 goals in her career — this season — to join some of the all-time greats who have put on a Karns City girls soccer uniform.

She’s well on her way. But even Martin has been surprised by the prodigious rate she has been scoring.

“I never would have imagined the start I’ve had so far,” Martin said. “I mean, I just hope it keeps going because it’s pretty sweet. I’m really happy to be experiencing this with my team.”

And her close friend, Emma, of course.

“It’s so much fun being able to play with my best friend,” Martin said. “To be able to play with her and do well, it just feels so great.”

Martin feels like an honorary Dailey.

“I do,” she said, smiling at Emma.

“You are,” Emma says, putting her arm around McKenna. “You’re part of the family.”