Written by Corbett Smith
Girls Player of the Year: McKayla Paulson's next strides include career at Texas A&M
Even though McKayla Paulson is supremely talented, her high school coach, Jay Zeller, didn’t want to talk about her in terms of natural abilities.
Sure, Zeller admitted, Paulson is tall and fast — her long strides closing ground on all but the quickest of players. And, she is versatile, adept enough to play any position on the field. In fact, over her four-year varsity career, Paulson played everywhere for Mansfield — including some time at goalkeeper this season.
But to talk about the senior as a soccer savant would diminish the sheer effort required to be as good as she is, Zeller said.
“The amazing thing about her is how hard she works,” Zeller said.
It’s that tireless effort that has gained Paulson her successes, both on the field and in the classroom, and helped her earn distinction as SportsDay’s All-Area girls soccer player of the year.
“Always on the go,” Paulson said of her schedule. “The past couple of years with club and high school soccer, it’s been kind of crazy. ... You just have to make it work — make time for both and use your time wisely.”
The Texas A&M signee was instrumental in Mansfield’s stellar season, going 22-2-1 before getting upset by Coppell in the second round of the UIL playoffs. Over her varsity tenure, Paulson has been a key cog in helping Mansfield become one of the area’s better programs — winning 44 games over the past two seasons.
“I hope they can continue what we’ve done,” Paulson said. “We’ve sort of made ourselves a force to be reckoned with in the district and the area.”
A midfielder in high school, Paulson has also found success at the club level as an outside back, the position she will likely play in College Station. Her club team, Dallas Sting, has made the finals of the ECNL national championships the past two seasons.