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England native Matt Baxter in charge of the rebirth of soccer at Tipton-Rosemark

By Thomas Sellers Jr.TRA Soccer No. 10

 TRA Soccer Coach Matt Baxter will be in charge of both soccer programs this season. Soccer has returned to the Rosemark campus for the first time in three years.

TRA Soccer Coach Matt Baxter will be in charge of both soccer programs this season. Soccer has returned to the Rosemark campus for the first time in three years.

For the first time in three  years, Tipton-Rosemark Academy has soccer.
In the mid 2000s TRA created a boys’ and girls’ soccer program. The sport had a brief stay on the campus and despite the short life, it had some success.
But in 2009-10 the Rebels fielded their last teams and soccer vanished. Then this summer came the arrival of Matt Baxter to the TRA campus.
“I’m very excited to be here,” he said. “For me, I’ve coached some club and I’ve coached some camps. This is my first high school. It’s an absolute pleasure because the girls have been absolute fantastic. They’ve given 100 percent commitment the whole time.
“They’ve worked hard and they’ve put up with me shouting a little bit,” Baxter continued. “I’m proud to be here. It’s an excellent school. They’ve supported me and they didn’t have a program previously. We’ve set up hopefully a feeder system as well. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the boys this spring. We’ll set up the boy’s JV. And hopefully when we get the feeder system we’ll have JV and varsity.”
The TRA administration have given full support to Baxter reviving the Rebel Soccer program. This year the Lady Rebels have taken the field in JV action only. The same is planned for the Rebels this spring.
On Sept. 17 the Lady Rebels played fourth game of the season against the Millington Lady Trojans. TRA was able to earn a 2-1 victory on their home field to improve to 3-1 on the season.
Just like most programs starting it was a shaky start with the Lady Rebels dropping their first game 7-3 to Harding Academy.
Win No. 1 came for TRA against Millington. The Lady Rebels defeated the Lady Trojans 2-0. Then TRA scored a season-high five goals in a win over Memphis Catholic. But the Lady Rebels paid the price in that Sept. 16 contest suffering four injuries. The short-handed Lady Rebels overcame their obstacles to outlast Millington in the rematch.
Baxter described that win as a “hearts and guts” performance. Baxter, 32, has seen all types of soccer performances the past 25 years growing up in England.
The Nottingham, England native has played on all levels including college overseas. When he moved to the United States, he got involved in club soccer.
Now he is learning the world of high school soccer in the Mid-South with TRA. To navigate this inagurual season, Baxter compiled a roster of age diversity with five seniors and seven player either in the eighth or ninth grade.
“The 12th graders are really the social leaders at the school,” he said “I made one of them my captain. I could have made a 10th grader my captain. But the girls said they want a 12th grader to lead them by example. We do have that in Christen Caradine.
“Having the youth is great because it allows me to really work with them for three to four seasons to get them to a place where they are better than they are right now,” Baxter added. “Both as individual student/athletes and as a team.”
Baxter said the roster is full of hard workers and players with potential to even play at the next level. But for now he is concentrating on taking small steps to build better student/athletes and get TRA Soccer to a championship level.
“My goal is for me to learn as much from the team with all different age groups and genders while moving away from club ball to school,” he concluded. “My goal for the team is to develop a decent passing style of soccer. And we have a blank pennant in the gym for Girls’ Soccer that has no years on it. My goal is within five years to have a year on that flag whether it’s a (district) champion or a State champion. We’ll get there.”
The 2013 Lady Rebels are Kate Parchman, Christen Caradine, Kaitlin Baker, Alexandra Bobbitt, Carley Baker, Lauren Caradine, Anna Applebaum, Kasey Moore, McKenzie Brower, Brittany Hall, Mary Grace Siminton, Hannah Adams, Faith Conley, Courtney Goode, Ashley Smith, Heidi Miller, Manager Wes Rutland, Assistant Coach Kevin Moore and Head Coach Matt Baxter.

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