By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Kasey Moore and the Munford Lady Cougars were enjoying so many historic highs throughout the 2016 season.
From a new school-record for wins to an unblemished District 13-3A title, Moore and her fellow seniors were ready to add to the list of accomplishments entering the Region 7-3A Girls Soccer Tournament against Arlington.
But the hopes of advancing to the next round and the prep career of Moore came crashing down when she tore her ACL during the contest.
“I knew that everything happens for a reason,” Moore said. “And having soccer knowing that I was going to play helps me know that I have to get back. Helps me mentally realize I can get there and will get there if I keep working hard at it.”
As she left the field that day, Moore knew she still had a future in the game. It became official Jan. 25 in the Munford High School Library when she signed her national letter of intent to Milligan College.
Kasey’s road to college soccer started about 10 years ago in Harrison, Ark., under the guidance of parents Kevin and Shannon.
“It’s been a lot of hard work — countless hours out there on the practice field,” Kevin said. “Going back and forth to training sessions, tournaments in competitive leagues it has been a culmination of a lot of hard work.”
Shannon noted Kasey had a gift for the game scoring three goals in her first contest.
“As soon as she hit the field, she was a natural,” Kevin recalled. “She got asked to play competitively that year. She’s been playing ever since.”
That 8-year-old has blossomed into an All-District player taking the field across the Mid-South.
“When we transition and started playing around U12 or U13, she guest-played for club out of Springfield, Mo,” Kevin said. “They played her at center-back, center midfielder. That’s when she really started to transition from being an offensive-minded player to a defensive-holding midfielder.”
After arriving in West Tennessee during middle school, Kasey became a Tipton-Rosemark Academy Lady Rebel by her freshman year.
Moore became a Lady Cougar in 2014 and Munford’s new Head Coach Dylan Burnett arrived in 2015.
“Kasey was the glue and foundation to this team,” Burnett said. “I couldn’t be more proud to see her going to the next level. She played huge role in the center midfield for us. Kasey is versatile. She could play anywhere on the field. The thing with her is she’s willing to play wherever the coach needs her.
“We needed her in the midfield,” he added. “She has a real, real high soccer IQ. The girl is smart. She knows the game. And she has great vision on the field. She’s always two or three steps ahead. She knows how to pin a ball on a dime and play amazing through balls for her teammate. Not to mention the girl has a canon most high school boys would love to have. She’s very, very strong.”
Moore’s gifts and skill-set helped the Lady Cougars go 15-4-1 this past season.
“To be able to go out the way these seniors did was special,” Burnett said. “Of course every team wants to win a State championship. But unfortunately it kind of came to an halt for her in our last game against Arlington when she tore her ACL. That kind of played a big part in that game.
“Up until that point we were even with Arlington,” he continued. “They had two shots on goal, we had two shots on goal. We were ready and prepared. But things happen. You can’t prepare for things like that.”
Despite the bittersweet conclusion to the 2016 season, Burnett said Moore’s signing reclaimed a lot of that joy back.
“For these seniors to have the best record in program history,” he said, “To be able to go undefeated in district and shutout everyone in district and to be able to have the best score against a Regional opponent like Arlington (2-0) it’s a great season. I couldn’t have asked for too much more. They did everything I asked them to do.”
Moore said the two seasons under the guidance of Burnett played a huge part in her reaching her goal of playing college soccer.
“Being a leader, being the captain I had to step it up and make sure my team was doing well,” she said. “I had to be supporting in a positive way. I like the growing mentally and physically with the game with Coach Dylan like those summer workouts.
“Even just practices, our team had fun,” Moore added. “It wasn’t always about winning. Although we continued to do very well with that, we had fun and made each other laugh. It was a great season overall.”
Kevin said he hopes Milligan College will provide more thrills and special moments for his daughter.
“Team sports, especially in college, proves what it means to be a part of a larger team when you get into the corporate world,” he said. “I hope she has fun and continues to enjoy it. She uses whatever she can to develop that skill set and mind set for her next step in life.”
Moore will play for Head Coach Lisa Buckley. Buckley just completed her ninth season at the helm of the Milligan program. During Buckley’s tenure as head coach, the Buffaloes have gone 59-65-18 and recorded an Appalachian Athletic Conference championship and a runner-up finish.The Buffaloes are a part of the NAIA.
Buckley will welcome a 4.0 student, member of the National Honor Society and community leader to her program. Burnett said Munford’s soon-to-be graduate is a blessing to the Buffaloes.
“Kasey is everything a coach could ask for in a player,” he said. “There are not too many players that you could truly say that about. If you want an excellent soccer player, or want an excellent team captain, Kasey is that. She’s a great example in the classroom. Kasey is that.
If you want a great example outside of school, Kasey is that,” Burnett concluded. “So many girls look up to Kasey. Not just on our team but inside of Munford High School. She’s incredible.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.