Gulfport girls soccer’s Kate Smith named Gatorade Player of the Year

Today, Gulfport’s Kate Smith became the first girls soccer player in school history to win Gatorade Player of the Year for Mississippi not once, but twice.

When asked about doing an interview, she said as long as its before 3 p.m. Of course, the Ole Miss signee would be watching her Rebels in the College World Series.

Smith joining Ashton LeBlanc as the only other Gulfport player, boy or girl, to win the award for a second time.

The former News 25 Student Athlete of the Week absolutely deserving, racking up 36 goals and 21 assists as a senior, giving her 124 goals and 69 helpers for her banner career as a Lady Admiral.

This season, the one Head Coach Chris Pryor calls ‘Lil Smith’ helped lead Gulfport to the 6A quarterfinals on the back of back-to-back state titles during her sophomore and junior years.

Dating back to the start of the 2019-2020 campaign, Gulfport has a combined record of 63-2-7 which makes it pretty easy for Smith to treat her individual accolades as something the whole team can celebrate. “Just kind of blew my mind. I woke up this morning, I was like – cause like, you get the thing that you’re nominated and I was like this is really cool, and I just kind of thought that two years in a row, like that’s just not going to happen. I was just really thankful for last year. But I mean this year, I just can’t express how thankful I am that I’ve been blessed to get this two years in a row. Like without my team I would be nowhere where I am. I’ve played with the best team that I could have ever asked for these last four years, and they’re all my best friends and they’ve had my back since we stepped on the field and played every single game. Even though the season didn’t go the way that we wanted it to, I wouldn’t have it any other way because they were just so supportive of me the whole season and they want what’s the best for me and I can say the same for them and it’s just been so huge being able to play with them because they’ve gotten me to where I am today.”

Smith leaves for Oxford on Tuesday and says this South Mississippi heat is preparing her for pre-season collegiate soccer.

Kelsey Myrick is the only other Gulfport girls soccer player to win the award back in 2008.

Categories: Local Sports, Sports