By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Georgia Russell’s soccer career is taking her to college ahead of schedule, but the recent Ole Miss signee doesn’t mind.
“I’m ready for college,” said Russell, a four-year starter for Tupelo High School’s Lady Wave. “I enjoyed playing high school soccer and I’ll miss it.”
Russell graduated from THS this month and enrolls in January at Ole Miss, where she’ll play spring soccer for the Lady Rebels.
She started every game during her high school career and recorded 68 goals and 24 assists. The Lady Wave posted a 64-14-4 record during her four seasons. She was named Daily Journal Player of the Year, All-State and two-time team MVP.
Outside of high school, Russell played select soccer for the Tupelo Futbol Club, the Jackson-based Mississippi Fire, and most recently, with the Birmingham United Soccer Association team.
Despite leading her Birmingham club in goals and points playing forward the last two years, Russell will likely play defender for Ole Miss.
“The coaches feel like defender is the best position for me,” she said. “They say it’s because I play smart.”
Russell’s father, Bo, a former All-SEC defensive back for Mississippi State, says coaches have told him his daughter has a unique blend of strength and speed.
“She’s not a finesse player,” he said. “She plays rough-and-tumble soccer.”
Georgia, who admits to being a Mississippi State football fan, said selecting Ole Miss wasn’t that difficult.
“I liked the coaches, the players … it’s where I thought I needed to be,” she said, then smiled. “It’s not a big deal. I knew I wanted to play soccer in the state and Ole Miss was the best fit.”
Former Ole Miss and THS standout Hannah Weatherly was a mentor for Russell.
“She taught me some skills,” Russell said. “She’s always been an influence, but not in my decision (to go to Ole Miss).”
Bo Russell, a 1993 Ole Miss Law School graduate, laughed when asked about his new allegiance.
“I don’t know,” said. “I know I’ll be an Ole Miss soccer fan.”