2005 Soccer Profile: Brandi Parker

Vicksburg High School forward Brandi Parker, considered the top high school soccer player to ever come out of the state of Mississippi, talked with Gene's Page recently about her recruitment and why she decided to cast her lot with Mississippi State.

You've been the Gatorade Player of the year in Mississippi the past two years. What other honors have you earned during your career?
"I earned All-State and I also made the regional team."

What is the regional team?
"There are four regions in the United States. The region Mississippi is in is region three, which has 8 states in it. Each state has a region team. They pick one regional team from those eight states. Then, they do the same thing in each of the other three regions. You then go to two different camps. Then one team, which is called the national team, is selected from the four regionals teams."

From what MSU head coach Neil McGuire said, you came very close to making the national team.
"I didn't go to one event. If I had of gone to it, I may have made the team."

Coach McGuire told me he considers you the best soccer player to ever come out of the state of Mississippi. This is probably a difficult question to answer, but what do you think makes you the player you are?
"My dad played soccer. That's all I've wanted to do since I was five years old. I also have speed. Like in any sport, nothing can replace speed. I guess that is what helps me."

Have you grown up a fan of any particular college?
"My family is real big into sports but we've never been real big into a certain college team. As I got older, we started keeping up with the soccer teams that I heard were good. Then, I went by who I felt did the best recruiting job and kept up with how I was doing."

When did Mississippi State get involved in your recruitment?
"I'm not real sure. I know it was as soon as (Coach McGuire) could start. He was always the one who would send me a letter and check on me to see how I was doing."

What schools recruited you? When I say recruited, I'm really referring to the ones that called you.
"A lot of schools called. The ones that actually offered me a scholarship were Florida State, SMU, Furman, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, (Mississippi) State, Ole Miss."

That's quite a list. You mentioned that quite a few called you. Do you remember most of the others that called you?
"There were a lot. At one point in time, I wouldn't answer the phone because I didn't know what I was going to do or where I was going to go. I didn't think it was going to be that big of a deal at first, but it really was hard."

Who did you officially visit?
"I visited Furman, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. I was supposed to visit SMU and Florida State but I didn't because I chose State before those trips."

What was it about State that caused you to chose them over all the other schools that you were interested in?
"The girls on the soccer team were real nice, but the entire environment of the school made me feel at home. If I needed anything, everybody was willing to help. I knew if I went there, I would never regret it."

Gene Swindoll is the owner/publisher of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the source for Mississippi State sports on TheInsiders.com sports network. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.

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