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McKENZIE — McKenzie Middle School’s inaugural girls soccer team was revealed in late July, almost a month before the team’s first game.
In June, Coach Karlene Brown campaigned to the McKenzie Special School District’s school board to start the team, after gathering 36 signatures from interested middle school girls. Coach Brown is McKenzie High School’s Rebels and Lady Rebels soccer head coach, assisted by Jeremy Bilger.
She alerted the school board that, before this year, the middle school had a male-dominated co-ed team that competed in the spring against primarily boys soccer teams. The school board unanimously voted in favor of adding the team, and tryouts were July 18.
“Despite facing numerous challenges throughout a lengthy process, we finally have a MMS Girl’s Soccer team,” Coach Brown said in a Facebook post on July 20. She extended thanks to assistant coaches Mary Davis, Allie Chappell, and Josefina Batton; Jeremy Bilger, McKenzie Middle School Principal Dorethea Royle, Superintendent Justin Barden, and the McKenzie School Board.
Members of the 2023 McKenzie Middle School Lady Rebels soccer team are Bella Sass, Kailie Hudgins, Lilli Simmons, Kaylyn Ozment, Kaydynce Barksdale, Stephanie Padilla, Addison Courtney, Addyson Lee, Autumn Haywood, Janyla Piro, MaKayla Dabbs, Claire Kee, Ava Graham, Sophie Dameron, Megan Cowan, Ellie Doede, Kallie O’Rourke, Abby Carroll, Mahelet Rivera, and Lauren Burlison.
The girls’ season starts at home against Medina on Monday, August 21 at 6 p.m. August 24 is at Lexington at 5:30 p.m. September 5 is a home game against Inman at 5 p.m. September 7 is a home game against Huntingdon at 5:30 p.m. September 11 is at Milan at 5:30 p.m. September 14 is at Henry County at 5:30 p.m. October 3 is at Inman at 5 p.m. October 5 is Eighth Grade Night and a home game against Martin at 5 p.m.
Round 1 of the Regional Tournament is October 13-17, Semi-Finals are October 18-20, Finals are October 21, and the Championship game is October 22. Times and locations for the Regional Tournament dates are to be determined.