A new soccer season brings a new head coach for the Weatherford Lady Kangaroos. However, it is not a new face to the program.
Laura Bailey takes over for Tyler Kernan after being his assistant since 2014. She also played for the Lady Roos before graduating in 2008.
"When I received the call from my mentor, Tyler Kernan, to come back after six years and coach with him it was a dream come true," she said. "I always assumed I would start somewhere else and hoped to eventually return to Weatherford. Coming back home gives me a real sense of pride and ownership of this program."
Bailey takes over a program that finished 10-7-1 overall and 4-7-1 in District 3-6A.
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Returning starters include senior defender Sylvia Watson, a first-team all-district selection, along with senior outside midfielder and second-team all-district Eliana Harmer, junior forward Juni Ejere, junior goalkeeper Brittyn Ogle, sophomore defender Abigail Griffin, and sophomore defender Shanna Young.
Following her time at Weatherford High, Bailey played at Hardin-Simmons University. She followed by working as a graduate assistant for two years before returning to Weatherford.
"I, along with my assistant Bryan Todd, want to build a culture that doesn’t accept mediocrity," Bailey said. "We want to challenge these ladies to compete in all stages of the game. Players within our program have changed mindsets, come to practice to battle it out, and return from last season with a sense of determination to compete in our district."
The Lady Kangaroos missed the postseason for the first time in four years in 2017. They last advanced past bidistrict in 2008 and have never gotten past area.
"As a team we often talk of team season goals. Our biggest ones at the varsity level this year is to avenge some losses and make it to playoffs," Bailey said. "For us, I believe our athletes have gained highly competitive mindsets and improved their work ethic to achieve our goals.
"During the off-season, the girls bought into the mantra of competing in all workouts coach Todd and I threw their way. When practices began they were ready to jump in to absorb the knowledge we have to offer team."
The Kangaroos are hoping to bounce back from finishing last in the seven-team District 3-6A last season, posting a 2-10 league mark (8-12-1 overall). But with 10 returning starters, optimism for more is understandable.
"We've got 15 seniors, four juniors and one sophomore on varsity this year, most depth we have had since I've been here," said head coach David Barclay, who begins his fifth season. "We have 39 goals coming back on offense.
"Our goal this year is to make the playoffs."
Returning starters for the Kangaroos are sophomore goalkeeper Wes Hanson (second-team all-district); senior defenders Will Cowan, Chris Montes, Uriel Nunez (honorable mention all-district), and Thomas Magil; senior midfielders Levi Duval and Juan Villanueva (first-team all-district), and Jesus Hernandez (second-team all-district); and senior forwards Vincente Santibanez (first-team all-district) and Wakilongo Ebake.