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Shortly after her sophomore year at South Oldham High School concluded, girls’ soccer midfielder Marissa Williams began visiting colleges.
She’d planned a trip to the University of Alabama-Birmingham, but at the urging of her father, Jim Williams, Marissa also visited Mississippi State University.
That afterthought visit sealed her decision.
After committing to the Bulldogs on the visit, Williams cemented her college future by signing a National Letter of Intent Feb. 1, binding her to a women’s soccer scholarship at Mississippi State.
Williams said she hopes to help resurrect the Bulldogs, who finished 6-10-3 last season.
“They’ve always kinda been at the bottom, which is what I liked,” she said. “I’d rather go there knowing I’m gonna play and help improve the team, rather than just be another person on the team. I’m hoping to help them improve.”
The 2011 Kentucky Miss Soccer, Williams had 15 goals and 14 assists in leading SOHS to a 13-8-1 record.
Mississippi State coach Neil Macdonald said he’s been impressed by Williams’ ability to score and expects her to play well as a freshman this fall.
“She understands the game, she understands her role very well and so she’s astute when it comes to creating opportunities for herself and her teammates,” Macdonald said. “She’s just a good offensive threat and a creative player, which there’s not many out there.”
SOHS coach Cy Tucker said Williams constantly drew double-teams and hard contact from opposing teams, which prepared her for the tougher play she'll face in college.
“She doesn’t need any polishing of skills,” Tucker said. “But she can prepare herself for what she may have experienced as a hard tackle in October. It's gonna be a love pat to what she’s gonna experience in the SEC.”
Williams said she doesn’t feel ready for the tough competition she’ll face at Mississippi State, but she’ll work hard to get there.
“The girls are so much bigger than me,” she said. “I don’t want my leg to get broken off. They’re just a lot bigger and rougher. I’m not very aggressive of a player. I stay really calm, but I definitely need to be more aggressive and stronger.”
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