Parma giving everything she can for Ole Miss Rebels
Before the 2016 soccer season got going, Ole Miss coach Matt Mott asked senior Mackenze Parma to do a little more.
Not that she wasn’t giving it her all, but Parma has the all-around ability to make things happen during games. And if she could give a little more coming off the bench, then it makes the Rebels that much better.
So far, so good this season for Parma, a native of Collierville, Tennessee, who plays forward and midfield for the Rebels.
“I do what I can in practice and I try to get good looks in games to try and expand those minutes and I think I’ve done a decent job of coming in when (Mott) needs me to come in,” Parma said before the Rebels headed to Michigan. “I would definitely say that I’m one of the ‘sixth’ men if you will. We have several players that can step into that role. I think I have always looked at myself as a utility player. I’ve prided myself on being able to go into any position (Mott) needs me to go in at and really get as much out of me.”
It’s hard for Parma to believe that she is a senior. That realization came up when she was talking with former Ole Miss goalie Kelly McCormick. Parma and McCormick lived together a few years back during the summer.
“It’s hard to explain. During the four years, it feels like it’s taken forever to get here but looking back, it doesn’t seem quite that long ago,” she said. “I’m very happy to be able to play for a school like this and to be a part of this team. Everyday, you give what you have. I’ve really made it a point to give 100 percent of what I have that day.”
Enjoying all the little pieces of the experience is key, Parma said. She enjoyed the team making it to the round of 16 last season.
“I really enjoy the first day of preseason and starting out with a new team. I enjoy more of the team aspect, the day in and day out work that we put in,” Parma said. “It makes the wins so much more easy to enjoy. This year, it’s kind of the start of a new era. We have a lot of really young talent and it’s really exciting. I think we’re still working some kinks out just to see where we can get the most out of people. We have a lot to look forward to going into the rest of the season because we have a lot of talent. I think a lot of people are underestimating us and I like that, coming in as the underdog.”
So when Ole Miss was picked to finish eighth in the SEC this year, Parma agreed it was a slap in the face.
“It’s not talked about. It’s really not. At the end of the day, we can only control what we do on the field but I do think that is a little bit of a fire to go out there and prove a point when we play teams that are supposed to be pretty good,” Parma said. “It’s like what else do you want us to do? We finished in the SEC one of the best years we’ve had and got to the Sweet 16 and then to turn around and barely make it into the top 25 in the preseason poll. I think we’ve done well with it. Last year was last year and this is us this year and we want to make the most of that.”
Following her senior season, Parma is looking to get an internship and get into graduate school. She is majoring in geology, which means she carries around a little rock hammer in her belt loop.
“I’m into science but not the biology, chemistry kind of thing. My dad mentioned it my freshman year and I gave it a try, went to a couple of classes, and I really liked it,” Parma said. “It’s really a tangible science. The funniest thing is if I happen to mention about the weather, which has nothing to do with geology, Marnie Merritt will be ‘Ooh, geology major.’ Anything that has to anything with environment, they’re always like ‘geology major.’”
Parma felt like she is the athlete she is today due to her brother, who played baseball at Arkansas-Little Rock and to her father, who played football at Air Force.
“I think growing up with two really competitive people in my family, two I really look up to, I think that pushed me through and made me tougher,” Parma said. “I always wanted to play with my brother’s friends and get out do what they were doing. It’s an interesting dynamic that they both have been there and they can help guide me.”
Parma and the Rebels will return to action tonight at home against Troy at 7.