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Tahlequah’s Grace McKee – Soccer Spotlight – Presented by Tahlequah Drug Co.

Grace McKee has played soccer for 10 years and is also a member of the Tahlequah High School cheerleading squad.

It’s been a struggle for McKee and the Lady Tigers in soccer since they made the jump to Class 6A last year. The Lady Tigers are currently 1-7 under head coach Stacie Grooms. They defeated Mannford, 2-0, on March 24.

McKee feels she has strengthened her leadership skills.

“These past two seasons have been rather difficult due to the fact that we were bumped up to the 6A division,” McKee said. “However, I feel it has made us grow stronger. From an individual standpoint, I feel as though I have learned how to be more of a leader, and to encourage the girls on the team to try their hardest. I want to try to be more of a leader and step up to benefit the team.”

McKee isn’t afraid to go all out. She says her toughness is her biggest strength.

“My strength on the field would be my toughness,” she said. “I’m not scared to run full speed into someone to get the ball. Something that I’ve improved on would be my moves in order to beat players when put in a one-on-one situation.”

The junior looks forward to Tahlequah’s regular season finale on April 24 against Ponca City.

“A game that I am quite excited for this season would be Ponca City. Last year on senior night, we went into PKs and lost, and this time I want to win,” she said.

McKee, who enjoys tumbling and painting during her free time, recalls a memorable moment on the soccer field as a sophomore. It was also a motivational moment.

“We came back from being down 2-0 at half and ended up beating Wagoner by a score of 3-2,” she said. “I feel as though that game changed my mentality towards the sport in a good way.”

McKee, who enjoys doing the river drill, which requires quick passing and quick thinking, looks up to Brazilian professional soccer player Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior.

“He has a good heart and stays humble,” McKee said.

After her high school days come to a close, McKee, who works just as hard in the classroom as she does as a cheerleader and soccer player, would like to continue her soccer career on the collegiate level.

“I would love to play in college, however, I might want to focus on my studies,” she said. “I have big plans to move to Tampa, Florida and go to college at University of South Florida.

“Balancing athletics and academics can be quite difficult at times. I just try to work hard in class and when I have some spare time.”

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