When she was a student-athlete at Montclair State University, Kelly Dutko was known for her ability to set teammates up for goals with the women’s soccer program. She also scored a bunch of goals, too.

She also was a great teammate in high school. Largely for those efforts, Kelly Dutko-Talar is being inducted into the Steinert High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Dutko-Talar earned nine varsity letters as a three-sport athlete at Steinert and earned all-state honors in soccer and softball.

“I originally started out with loving soccer but once I started playing softball I loved them both,” said Dutko-Talar. “I guess if I picked one it would be soccer.”

Her senior year in the Green & White was special as she earned Player of the Year recognition in soccer and softball. She was the leading scorer in the Colonial Valley Conference with 22 goals, 12 assists and 56 points in girls’ soccer in 2001.

Soccer was the sport she continued in college and she finished on several of the all-time lists at Montclair State. The Red Hawks’ all-time leader in assists with 25, she also was tied for seventh with nine game-winning goals and ninth with 69 points.

“Right out of college I played indoor soccer, and some summer leagues with a bunch of college girls for a few years,” she said. “But I have since started having kids (with husband Chris Talar, a former SHS athlete) and love working out in any way possible to stay in shape.”

Sports remain an important part of her life.

“I have coached the JV boys’ soccer team at BCIT (Burlington County Institute of Technology) for the past six years and I coached girls’ basketball for four years there as well,” she said. “I was also the assistant coach for Mercer (County Community College’s) women's soccer team in 2007 and PDS (Princeton Day School) assistant varsity softball coach in 2007.”

She is a teacher of physical education and health at BCIT.

Her journey as an athlete began as a youngster. She found inspiration and advice at home.

“My biggest influence was my parents (Judy and Bill Anderson). Since I was little, my stepdad was the one to push me to be the best athlete/competitor I could be,” she said. “He showed me how to never give up, always give 110 percent and to love the sports I was playing. The rest was up to me.”

That passion was reinforced at Steinert.

“I owe so much of my success to my family and coaches,” Dutko-Talar said. “They all showed me how to become an all-around good student and athlete. Each of them helped shape and mold me into the athlete I became. They pushed me to be the best I could be and they always believed in me!”

Her varsity coaches at SHS were Joe Moffo (soccer), Jim Giglio (basketball) and Jean Ruppert (softball).

Her teammates were important to her, too. She was a two-sport captain in high school and a two-year captain at MSU.

Some of her top memories from Steinert are connected to sports.

“Just being a part of each team, having such amazing coaches and teammates really made my high school career that much better,” she said. “Moffo, Ruppert and Giglio were such great role models and they all believed in me and pushed me to be better each and every day – (that is) something that I carried with me to college and now to coaching my own high school students.”