by Whitney Carter
Senior midfielder Mackenzie Grow is a leader who has left a legacy that will be felt far into the future of Whitworth soccer.
“Her character on and off the field serves as a fantastic example to future members of the team of what it means to be a Whitworth women’s soccer player,” head coach Jael Hagerott said.
Grow has played soccer for Whitworth all four years and is now team captain. Grow started playing soccer when she was five years old. She played for one season and then quit.
“My parents put me into it, but I hated it at first,” Grow said.
She made the choice to play again a year later when all her friends decided to play. Once she started to play again, she never looked back. Mackenzie was a seven-year participant of the Spokane Soccer Academy. She also spent two years as a Spokane Soccer Academy Junior Coach.
Grow went to Lewis & Clark High School in Spokane. She was a two-time All-Greater Spokane League honoree during her junior and senior seasons.
As a freshman, Grow started 19 out of the team’s 20 matches. She has scored 8 times in her 4 years at Whitworth.
“What sets Mackenzie apart from the average soccer player are her technical skills,” fellow senior captain, defender Kelsey Griswold said.
Grow is well known for her foot skills. She loves the creativity that comes with being a soccer player.
“Soccer has given me a lot of patience,” Grow said.
Grow has been an example to everyone on the team both on and off the soccer field. On the field, she is known for her composure.
“She is a calming influence,” Griswold said. “She’s been a huge impact. She’s played every second since freshman year. She’s an amazing player in the center. She calms the whole game down and controls the game.”
Grow has had a tremendous influence on her teammates. Last year, Grow and her teammates faced the Lewis & Clark Pioneers at home. It was a close, hard-fought match that ended regulation in a 2-2 tie.
Grow took matters into her own hands and in a mere 52 seconds the fight was over.
“Kenz took the ball, dribbled up and scored,” Coach Hagerott said.
Grow recounted it as one of her favorite soccer memories.
Griswold says that Grow is a strong leader on and off the field.
“She’s very involved in getting people to church and carpooling and getting girls involved with team building stuff, Griswold said. “This year we’re doing a Bible study and she’s very big on getting the girls there and getting them involved.”
As captain, Grow has shown leadership skills.
“On the field, Kenz leads by example, in how she works, and in her vocal leadership, she guides people to their position,” Hagerott said. “She has a good game awareness and she’s a composed player.”
“The game can get pretty hectic sometimes and the center mids are what control the game, the speed of how it goes and where the ball goes,” Griswold said. “They distribute everything. And if you’re not calm, everyone else is very hectic, so she has that presence that calms us all down.”
“My favorite part about playing soccer is being part of a team and having team chemistry,” Grow said.
She has no immediate plans to play soccer competitively after college; however as the team competes for a conference title this season, Grow has left a legacy to be proud of.
Contact Whitney Carter at email@example.com.