Lady Cane bound for Berry soccer
by David Royal
Feb 15, 2013 | 621 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Following in her dad’s footsteps made Carterville’s MaKaylie Gibbs a good soccer player who could swap stories about the sport with her father.

Now it’s taking her to Berry College, where she will be playing soccer.

Gibbs, who plays center defender for the Lady Purple Hurricanes, signed scholarships this week to play for the Lady Vikings, located in neighboring Rome.

The defender is a four-year starter for the Lady Canes and is coached by Roger Lowe, who once coached her father.

Gibbs said she likes learning from Lowe, who coached her dad when he played on the boys soccer team at Cartersville.

“I feel like I’m almost following in his footsteps and I like that,” she said. “I’m really close to my dad, and I feel like that’s one of our connections. He can relate to things I see about playing for Cartersville.”

Lowe said Stephen Gibbs, her father, was a speedster in his day.

“He was the fastest player I ever saw,” Lowe said.

Lowe said in those early days his soccer teams were more physical and prone to knocking players down than occurs now.

“I have memories of Stephen flying down the field looking for someone to knock down,” he laughed.

MaKaylie Gibbs said she is a physical player like her dad, contributing from the defensive side of the ball.

She said she became interested in her position because of her former coach, Woody James.

“I was in middle school and coach [James] said, ‘Would you play this position for me?’ and I ended up falling in love with it,” she recalled.

Gibbs previously had played offense and said she feels she has skills that help her play both sides of the ball.

“I was always an aggressive player,” the 5’3” player said. “Even though I’m small I don’t let people push me off the ball. I’m going to fight just as hard as if I were 6 foot.”

MaKaylie Gibbs said she realized as a sophomore she might be able to play the game after high school if she could improve her skills.

“The coach of Rome Arsenal, my club team, asked if I’d ever considered playing in college,” she said. “The coach, Lorenzo Canalis, is also the Berry College coach, and he told me I had the aggression and speed to play [but] I needed to work on my footwork.”

She said she has been doing that ever since and practices those things every weekend in addition to her work on her other skills.

Soccer for Gibbs is something she works on pretty much 11 months of the year.

“During the regular season, my travel team plays all over the state,” she said. “Then in the tournament season, we play all over the South.

“We play from July to December and then from January to about May I play high school soccer. I get June off.”

She makes that commitment because she enjoys the game.

“It makes me happier than almost anything else I do,” she said. “I don’t have to be someone else. I just have to play my game.

“I may not be the best, but I’m going to work just as hard as anyone on the field.”

She said she’s always been interested in attending Berry.

“I grew up in Cartersville and we were always there at the college. When I was younger I wanted to go there because I thought it looked like a castle.”

At Berry, she plans to specialize in sports medicine.

“I’ve been interested in it since my freshman year,” she said. “This is a way I could still be around sports and I also could help others pursue their careers.”

Gibbs, a senior, said there are things she hopes to help accomplish in her last year as a Lady Purple Hurricane.

“We’re hoping for a good run in the state,” she said.

Coach Lowe said Berry will be getting a good defensive player who applies herself academically, too.

He said the defender doesn’t like to get beat and that stands out about her.

“She has this will to win,” Lowe said. “She plays as hard as she can. When she plays, she has no fear. With her, losing is not an option.”

He said Berry also is getting a good person off the soccer field.

“She’s a very good student. She takes a lot of that determination she has on the soccer field and shows it in the classroom.”