Kicking it up a notch

By Richard Greene | Published Sunday, May 22, 2011

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SIGNING ON - Jo Vaughan, a senior at Bowie, inks a letter of intent with Midwestern State University to play soccer. She is joined by by coach Josh Castles, parents Norman and Tracy Vaughan, coach Monte Sewell and Marc, Wes, Zeke and Bill Vaughan.

Jo Vaughan’s kicking talents have taken her on an incredible journey from soccer fields across North Texas to the gridiron for the Bowie Jackrabbits.

Now, they will take her to Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls to play soccer. The former Alvord student and Wise County resident recently signed a letter of intent to play for the Mustangs in the fall.

“I’m very excited,” Vaughan said. “I’ve only wanted to play in college since my freshman year. It will be harder, but it won’t be a huge step up.”

Vaughan grew up playing soccer in the Wise County youth leagues. As she entered high school, the defender started playing club soccer, joining Aces in the Metroplex. Her sophomore and junior years, she played for Genesis Elite in Wichita Falls.

“I’ve always played with girls a year older,” Vaughan said. “After my junior season, all those girls graduated, and I had to find a new team.”

Vaughan started play with the Tornadoes in Colleyville this past year.

But her entire focus was not on soccer. After transferring from Alvord to Bowie during the second semester of her junior year, the soccer standout was approached about kicking the football for the Jackrabbits.

“They had a really good kicker graduating,” Vaughan said. “I started kicking over the summer with my dad. I tried out during the two-a-days and made the team.”

Vaughan said she worked up to making 35-yard kicks in practice.

“Then in two-a-days I pulled my hamstring,” she said.

Vaughan worked her way back on the field, hitting her first extra point in Bowie’s second game, against Childress. She made a career-best three extra points against Jacksboro. She hit two more against Breckenridge.

Vaughan’s football career came to an end in the middle of the season.

“I broke my leg in practice,” she explained. “Right after I kicked, a player came through, got blocked, ended up tackling my leg, and I ended up in a dogpile.”

Along with missing the rest of the football season, she was out for the remainder of the fall soccer season.

“It was right in the middle of soccer season, and we were about to go to a lot of showcases where there were college scouts,” Vaughan said.

Fortunately, Vaughan was able to recover in time to make Midwestern’s tryouts and earn an invite to join the team.

“I recovered quickly,” she said.

She now hopes to break through and earn playing time this fall.

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