• 79°
franklin county times

Russellville girl is first to sign with college soccer program

The Russellville High School soccer program has had many successes and firsts in its short time as a varsity sport. With the recent scholarship signing by senior Katlyn James, the RHS program has another successful first.

James put pen to paper and made her future plans known by signing to continue her academic and athletic career at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi. The signing marks the first time a member of the girls’ team at Russellville will be playing college soccer.

James is currently competing with the 2022 area champion Golden Tigers for the first time after moving to Russellville from Louisiana. Couple that with the first signing in soccer for RHS, it fits together perfectly.

“From what I’ve been told, being the first to sign from the soccer program here is a big deal,” James said. “I’ve been playing soccer since I was 4, so being able to further my career on the collegiate level is really big. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to, and I’m really excited.”

Head coach Trey Stanford leads the RHS soccer programs, with Fred Ambrosio serving as associate head coach in charge of the girls’ practices and games and Larsen Plyler assisting. Stanford said. James has become a leader on the team. “She’s stepped into our program, and the girls love her to death,” Stanford shared. “She works hard, she plays hard, and she’s a good athlete.”

Stanford said he is thankful for the entire James family and their support of the soccer program at RHS. “There’s not a second that goes by that they aren’t 100 percent bought-in to the program at Russellville, and we’re truly grateful for that,” he said.

Tougaloo, a private four-year institution, is a historically black college that will be playing both women’s and men’s soccer under head coach Ahmad Smith and coach Fred Davis starting in the fall of the 2022-23 academic year for the first time since the 1980s.

Tougaloo has announced that the soccer Bulldogs will begin play as an independent program, with plans to join conference affiliation in the fall of 2023. The athletics program currently competes in other sports as a member of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference and the Southern States Athletic Conference of the NAIA division.

The women’s soccer program is forming a team that will join other HBCU programs in the state of Mississippi such as Jackson State, Alcorn State and Mississippi Valley State.