LOUISBURG — Signing with the University of Missouri at Kansas City soccer team is the best of both worlds for Louisburg senior Braden Yows.
Yows, a forward for the Wildcats, will get to play NCAA Division I soccer and still be close to home for family and friends to watch him play.
Yows was a letter-winner for the Louisburg soccer program, playing in the Class 1-4A state tournament his junior season.
“I’m very excited to get this opportunity,” Yows said. “It’s my hometown school. It’s a program that made a change with their coach two years ago. I am excited to join this team of great players and see what we can do.”
Those changes have brought great expectations for the program under coach Ryan Pore, who has brought in a number of talented players the last two years.
“Coach Pore and his staff did a good job of building a relationship with me,” Yows said. “I texted them throughout the summer as I competed with my club team and they got a chance to see me play.”
The University of Missouri at Kansas City is the only local school with a NCAA Division I soccer program.
“My parents as well as my grandparents like to come to my games,” Yows said. “It is nice they will get to come support me.”
Yows, an attacker for the Louisburg Wildcats, will play midfield and forward for UMKC.
He is a gifted soccer player, who will continue to grow with the Kangaroos, Louisburg coach Kyle Conley said.
“Braden is a fantastic young man, and he will do great things at UMKC,” Conley said. “He has been a great leader and mentor for his teammates. His work rate has been second to none and he was the best player on the field every night we played regardless who we played.
“He will represent his family and the Louisburg soccer program really well at UMKC,” Conley said. “He had a great season and did very well for us. He created so many problems for our opponents.”
Yows was born to play soccer, taking up the game when he was just 3 years old.
“It was the first activity my parents got me started with,” he said. “I loved it from the first time I started playing. My parents put me on a team with some kids who were family friends.
“I got lucky in the fact my first coaches loved the game, and they played soccer in college,” Yows said. “They got me started with very basic skills, but there were things that I could practice in my backyard. As I got older, I continued to get on better teams and play at a more competitive level, but that is where my love of the game started.”
Yows moved to Louisburg the summer before his sophomore year. He joined the Wildcat soccer program and was a letter-winner all three seasons.
“Coach Kyle Conley and coach Bobby Bovaird are great people and great coaches who run a top notch program,” Yows said. “I truly believe they run the best soccer program in the state of Kansas. They demand effort and attention to details on a daily basis and make sure we are doing the things every day to get better.
“We talked every day about doing the right things both on and off the field,” he said. “A big part of me getting the opportunities to play at the next level are because of the things we work on and practice every day. I’m extremely grateful to both coach Conley and coach Bovaird as well as the teammates I’ve had over those three years at Louisburg.
Yows played club soccer for Kansas City Scott Gallagher. The team won a regional title last season and competed in the national championships in Sarasota, Fla.
Yows scored 17 goals for the Louisburg Wildcats this season, including four game-winning goals. He added 11 assists.