The Ole Miss soccer team is gearing up for the 2019 season on the pitch. On Wednesday, coach Matt Mott named the captains for the upcoming season – senior Gabby Little, junior Grace Johnson and fellow senior Julia Phillips.
“I’m very excited to announce Gabby, Julia, and Grace as our captains for this season,” Mott said. “All three embody what it means to be an Ole Miss Rebel soccer player. They come from different backgrounds which I think will really enhance their ability to lead in different ways. I am really looking forward to them leading this year’s team.”
One of two captains in 2018, Little returns to the role for her senior season, bringing the most experience on the roster with 62 appearances in her first three campaigns.
“It means a lot to me to be put in this position again,” Little said. “I don’t take it lightly and I’m grateful for all that I learned in the past year as a leader that I can bring into this year. Being a captain again has given me so much motivation to be better on the field, in the classroom and around the community. In my final year as a captain, I hope to help cultivate more leaders in this group and be a reliable outlet for my teammates to look to as an example and a friend.”
A starter in all 42 matches since stepping on campus, Johnson has established herself as an anchor on the backline for Ole Miss. In addition to locking down attackers from her center back position, the junior out of Centerville, Utah has shown an ability to get forward and provide in the attacking third as well, ranking second on the team with four assists in 2019 while scoring four times in her two seasons, including the game-winner in the Rebels’ NCAA First Round victory at Clemson in 2019.
“Being a captain in college has always been a goal of mine,” she said. “Every team needs strong leadership in order to be successful, and that’s what we have on this team. We have a lot of leaders on this team, not just the captains, and I think that makes us special. There is a culture of pushing each other to become better as players and people. I am excited to help lead this team into a great season.”
After transferring to Ole Miss from Florida State in 2017, Phillips has become a fixture for the Rebs in the middle of the pitch over her two seasons in Oxford. Providing a link between the backline and the Rebel attack, the native Virginian has logged well over 1,000 minutes in her two seasons at Ole Miss, scoring three times with one assist in 2017.
“It’s an honor to be named a captain for ole miss considering the captains I have had in my time here,” Phillips said. “Having the team and coaches feel confident in me as a leader means a lot. When I first transferred in I was so quiet and if it weren’t for my teammates forcing me to come out my shell and talk I don’t think I would have been given this opportunity now. I look forward to having a great season with the team.”
The Rebels open the season Aug. 22 against North Alabama at 7 p.m. with two exhibition games prior.
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