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Three soccer standouts join Bulldogs

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) — Aaron Gordon kicked off the new year by adding three early enrollees for his 2015 Mississippi State soccer signing class.

Kennadi Carbin from Louisville, Ky., Jen Huckaby from Frisco, Texas, and Carly Mauldin, a Mississippi native from Laurel, all joined the Mississippi State soccer program in January. The trio will go through spring training with the team following prosperous careers at the international, club and high school levels.

“The three kids that joined us in January are great kids who have fed into our culture immediately,” Gordon said. “They have been eager to get started, and we are eager to see all of them compete on the field when we start the spring schedule in March.”

Carbin, a 5-11 forward, joins the Bulldogs after graduating from Waggener High School in Louisville. After playing club soccer for six years with Cavalier FC in Nassau, Bahamas, she spent the last three seasons playing for Lee Weyland and Joe Williams at Javanon Soccer Club in Louisville.

“I am very thankful to be part of the MSU soccer program,” Carbin said. “I’m so excited to start my journey as a Bulldog.”

The three-star recruit by Top Drawer Soccer helped Javanon win the Kentucky club state title the last three seasons. In 2013 she was named the state’s female player of the year.

Carbin, the daughter of Karen Carbin, also brings international experience to the Bulldogs after earning 19 caps with the Bahamas’ U15, U16 and U17 national teams.

“Kennadi is a quick, athletic player that can stretch the field. These games we play in the spring will be really important for her to get used to the speed of the college game,” Gordon said. “Having the opportunity to play in CONCACAF qualifying games against the real powerful teams like the United States, Costa Rica and Mexico is an invaluable experience. For Kennadi, it’s just a matter of her getting to compete at the highest level and that’s why she chose Mississippi State.”

Her first caps with the program came in 2008 as she participated in the International Youth Cup with the U15 team, playing contests against Trinidad & Tobago, Trinidad and Jamaica. Carbin became the youngest player to earn a cap, claiming her first at age 11.

After playing friendlies in Florida with the squad in 2010, she competed on the 2011 U17 team that participated in the FIFA U17 World Cup Qualifiers and the CFU Championships.

In 2012 she earned a spot on the U17 club that earned the country’s first CONCACAF Championships appearance. The team traveled to Guatemala and played contests against the United States, Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago.

Her most-recent cap came with the U17 squad in the 2013 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in Puerto Rico.

Huckaby, a four-star defender by Top Drawer Soccer, comes to Starkville boasting a prestigious academic and athletic career playing for Oscar Bersoza at Heritage High School and Chris Ring at FC Dallas.

FC Dallas’ team captain from 2012-14, Huckaby earned first-team all-district honors three times playing defense for Heritage. She was named the team’s MVP and captain as a junior.

She had the opportunity to play in Mexico with her club squad in 2013.

“I’m very thankful to be part of Mississippi State, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Bulldog soccer program,” Huckaby said.

Huckaby, the daughter of Ken and Michiko Huckaby, was also a standout on the track and cross country course for Heritage. The team’s Most Valuable Runner her sophomore and junior seasons, she was named the “Leader of the Pack” following the 2012 cross country campaign.

She helped Heritage qualify for the state meet her junior season and the regional competition for the third-straight year.

“Jen is working hard to get back from an ACL injury that she sustained during her fall club season. When Jen gets back healthy, she is a disciplined defender who is quick, a good tackler, a good organizer and a great passer,” Gordon said. “It’s unfortunate that she won’t be able to get a jump on adjusting to the speed of the college game in the spring, but being here with our medical and our strength and conditioning teams gives her the best opportunity to succeed in the fall.”

A member of the National Honor Society, Huckaby maintained an academic GPA of 5.1 and was awarded the President’s Education Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence.

While adding a talented defender in Huckaby and a standout forward in Carbin, the Bulldogs also added depth in the central midfield with Mauldin, a heralded in-state product from West Jones High School in Laurel.

Mauldin, the daughter of Lance and Stacie Mauldin, participated in Mississippi’s Olympic Development program from 2011-13 and brings significant club experience after playing for Shane Kowalski’s Gulf Coast United Football Club that is currently ranked No. 1 in the state of Mississippi.

“I’m so excited to join the MSU soccer family,” Mauldin said. “It has always been my dream to play for the Bulldogs. I’m so blessed to have this opportunity.”

Mauldin, one of the top players in the state and one of the Top 100 in the nation, joins the Bulldogs after winning three state championships with her club team and two state titles with the Lady Mustangs of West Jones.

“Carly Mauldin, I think, is a real talent in our state. She’s the only kid from Mississippi that we have in 2015, but she has great touch and a great feel for the game,” Gordon said. “She’s very creative, and in terms of being a real box-to-box midfielder, I think that’s what she will provide here at Mississippi State.”

She helped Josh Sullivan’s West Jones squad to a 51-13-4 record during her three seasons, scoring 56 goals to go with 36 assists.

Mauldin also excelled on the track for the Lady Mustangs, taking third place at the Mississippi state track meet in 2013.

The Bulldogs open the spring slate at home Fri., March 6, taking on Samford at 6:30 p.m. Gordon’s squad travels to SMU March 28 before wrapping the slate with three-straight home matches against Alabama (April 7, 6 p.m.), UAB (April 11, 1 p.m.) and Memphis (April 18, 1 p.m.).

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