GALT — McKenna Brown and Devyn Kelley have been playing on soccer teams from the time they were in kindergarten.
Now the Liberty Ranch High girls soccer players will be donning different uniforms this summer.
In front of family, friends, teachers and school administration inside the school’s library on Friday afternoon, the four-year starters in Brown, a midfielder/forward, and Kelley, a defender, took part in their National Letter of Intent signing; Brown will be attending Chico State while Kelley is going to California State University, San Marcos. Both are NCAA Division II colleges.
Brown and Kelley will see another teammate when their teams play against each other, as they are all part of the California Collegiate Athletic Association. According to Liberty Ranch girls soccer assistant coach Kevin Brown, who is also McKenna’s father, goalie Carson Jackson, who was also a four-year starter, will be attending Stanislaus State and take part in the Warriors’ women’s soccer program.
After Kevin Brown, Liberty Ranch girls soccer assistant coach and McKenna’s father, gave the opening speech to start the ceremony, one of the girls spoke and inked their scholarships.
“Thank you all for coming,” Kelley told the attendees. “We appreciate it and all of the sacrifices that you guys have made, and our moms and families. We wouldn’t be here without you guys.”
Brown, who plans to major in sports medicine, and Kelley, who is looking into biology as her major, said that they each looked at eight to 10 colleges before trimming their lists and ultimately deciding on their respective colleges.
“I’m a really big family person and I didn’t want to be too far away from home,” said Brown of her choice, “but I still wanted to get that college experience. I felt Chico was perfect for me because it’s a two-hour distance, and I love the campus; it’s beautiful there.”
Kelley added, “I wanted to experience on what it would be like to be a little bit (far) away. I have cousins that are 15 minutes away. I’m getting a new experience in a new area. I really like the campus the vibe.”
But for the next four years starting this summer, the duo and Jackson will be facing off against the other.
“It will be a lot different because we’ve never gone against each other before,” Brown said.
Kelley added, “I will be excited for (those) games. I think, honestly, if we go against each other, we’ll probably be laughing a lot because it will be so nice to see each other and play against each other.”
Brown and Kelley, along with Jackson, were part of this year’s Liberty Ranch squad that won its third consecutive Sierra Valley Conference title. During their four years playing for the Hawks, the trio and other seniors on the team never lost an SVC game. The Hawks also captured the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV title last month.
Earning the top-seed in the California Interscholastic Federation Regional Girls Soccer Division IV, Liberty Ranch hosted its first-ever state game. But No. 5 Miramonte, which is part of the North Coast Section, pulled off a 3-2 win.
The girls are currently playing for the Central Valley Surf NPL club team, which is based out of Stockton. Along with playing soccer at Liberty Ranch, the duo have played in the Galt FC Strikers’ program. The first time they were teammates was on the Under 6 County Line Golden Cheetahs of Galt.
Contact Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.