North Texas Daily

Athlete of the Week: Midfielder mesmorizes

Athlete of the Week: Midfielder mesmorizes

September 01
21:48 2010

Lackey recognized in new position

By Ben Baby / Senior Staff Writer –

During Tuesday’s intersquad practice, head coach John Hedlund sits on the bench, watching as his team fights for loose balls and takes on defenders and the sweltering heat. Junior midfielder Julie Lackey lies in the midfield waiting to pounce, punishing opponents for their mistakes.

Calm and poised, her play is not the same of someone who just switched positions, but of someone who is looking to take her team to the top.

Lackey has blossomed in her first season as a full-time starter after moving from defender, scoring six goals for the Mean Green. Her play has helped the Mean Green jump out to a remarkable 4-0 start.

(Video by Eric Johnson / Editor-in-Chief)

“First two years, she was a pretty solid player for us, but she pretty much came off the bench,” Hedlund said. “I think she’s found her perfect role, her perfect position, and we depend on her now greatly and she’s really come through for us.”

Lackey hails from Humble, 30 minutes outside of Houston. While the ‘h’ in Humble is silent, Lackey’s play is far from quiet, netting game-winning goals against Texas Southern and Missouri State.

The emerging Lackey started only five games as a defender last season, scoring two goals and contributing two assists. In her junior year, she has taken full advantage of Hedlund’s newly implemented 3-5-2 formation.

“She’s very positive, very hard working,” senior goalkeeper Mandy Hall said. “You can always count on her to come out here and work as hard as she can every practice, no matter what’s going on with everything else. She’s really stepped up in a big way this year.”

Lackey, a biology major and the fourth of five children, picked up soccer at the age of four. The 5-foot-6-inch junior flourished in the sport, constantly receiving love and encouragement from her parents and siblings.

“Growing up, all of us played soccer, and my other three sisters, we traveled across town to play on a more competitive club team,” Lackey said. “Soccer’s been in our lives forever.”

Her family still plays a vital role both on and off the pitch. On most occasions, Lackey will look into the stands and see her parents and role models, Rick and Cindy.

“Julie was always quiet and a little bit on the shy side,” Cindy Lackey said. “We’re just so proud of her academically. She always strived to do her best in sports and school.”

Lackey peaked the interests of many schools after graduating from Atascocita High School in 2008, two of which were UNT and Troy. She chose to play closer to home for the Mean Green, where she continues to improve season after season.

While she would rather be out on the water in her down time, Lackey has flooded the stat sheets in 2010, helping the Mean Green to a tremendous start. On a deep and talented squad, Lackey has solidified her spot in the starting line-up.

“There’s always pressure to come out strong and always be on your game, because if not, there’s always someone to come in for you,” Lackey said.

Lackey’s hard work and determination have not only helped her become a starter, but have also brought another dimension to a team that is poised to make a deep postseason run.

“I think she’s going to be a big player here and a big threat to other teams,” Hall said. “She’s just going to continue to improve… She’s really someone we can rely on, so I think she’s going to help us go far this year.”

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