Richmond Hill High School soccer star Mackenzie Qua recently signed a letter of intent to play soccer on a scholarship at Brenau University in Gainesville. .
A soccer player since the age of five, Qua has worked hard on the high school and club level to achieve her dream of playing college soccer.
Her's has been a Cinderella story on making it to this pinnacle.
During her sophomore year, Qua suffered a serious knee injury that threatened to end her soccer career along with her aspirations.
Although she missed her sophomore year of play, she rehabilitated and came back strong with the help of Richmond Hill head soccer coach Steve Kollman."She was always athletic," said her mother, Jane Qua. "In grade school, she’d be the first one picked for the sports teams over any boy."
At 13, Mackenzie Qua started playing select club soccer in Virginia, where her family lived at the time.
Two years later, her skills took her to the Premier Club level. When she entered Hickory High School in Chesapeake, she bypassed JV and was immediately playing with to the varsity team, which Qua said was "unheard of and a really big honor".
Then came her injury, a torn meniscus, and her move to Richmond Hill.
She healed up and got back to basics. Coach Steve Kollman saw the potential in her, which later paid off when she became a force to be reckoned with on Wildcat Field.
She also joined the rec Richmond Hill Comets and eventually hooked up with the Coastal Georgia Soccer Club league. And Qua and her fellow Wildcats just wrapped up a highly successful season that has raised the bar for future girls soccer players at RHHS.
"This season that just ended was the best season I’ve ever had by far," Qua said. "We set records and standards for the girls to follow, and there’s no other word to describe it but awesome," she said. It was definitely the best way to end my high school years."
"She’s been a joy to coach," said Kollman. "She probably works harder in the off-season to improve her deficiencies than almost all my players that have come through the program. She’s improved her defense this year as much as anybody I’ve seen in seven years of doing this at RHHS. When she came here as a junior, the one thing that she had to improve on was her speed. This signing today is a tribute to the fact that she worked hard for two years to become a faster player than she thought she could be. For a college coach to come in and sign you, that tells you that you’ve got all the tools."
"She’s one of the hardest workers and one of the most fun-loving, lovable personalities you could ever want on a team," Kollman continued. "She’s the prankster that keeps everyone on track when things get tense. We’re going to miss her because she’s got the best 25 or 30 yard chip into the box offensively that we’ve ever had here."
Although RHHS is losing a power player, Brenau head soccer coach Mike Lochstampfor is excited about his new acquisition.
"There are a number of things that attracted us to Mackenzie," said Lochstampfor. "First of all, I was impressed with her level of play. She’s got great skills and she’s going to be a solid player for us. She understands the game real well and knows how to put herself in a position to help both offense and defense.
In addition to that, she a very strong student and we’re always looking for student athletes that will come in and not only excel on the soccer field but also in the classroom," Lochstampfor added. "I’m impressed with her personality. She seems like she’d have a lot of fun around our team, so we’re looking at that as well – how she’ll mesh with our current players."
Qua paid a visit to Brenau and said the university is a perfect fit for both her career and sports goal.
"I plan on majoring in journalism and advertisement, and they have awesome programs for that. They’re already talking about me working on the newspaper and radio shows there. On top of that, the soccer team there is like a family. I went up there one time and I already feel like I fit in."
"She’s very independent," said her father, Dick Qua. "She’s very outgoing and is always organizing people for sports and other school activities. She’s very well rounded and I only see the best things in life for her future. We’re very, very proud of her."
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