Thomas steps up as GCA soccer coach

Published 7:24 pm Friday, August 8, 2014

Whitney Thomas, who was an All Region 1-AAAA forward and midfielder for coach Chip Ariail’s Bainbridge High School Lady Cats soccer team from 2007 through 2010 and went on to have a strong soccer career as a forward and midfielder under coach Kathy Brown with the Young Harris College Mountain Lions ladies soccer team, is the new coach of the Grace Christian Academy Cougar’s co-ed soccer team.

During her four-year Lady Cats career, Thomas played in 62 games, scored 61 goals and had 29 assists. During her four-year Mountain Lions career, she played in 68 games, scored 20 goals, had seven assists and took 114 shots, 66 of which were on goal. Her on-goal percentage was 579 and she had three game-winning goals.

Coach Thomas, who is the daughter of Jeris Vought of Panama City, Florida, graduated from Young Harris this year with degrees in business and psychology. She teaches middle school physical education and high school conditioning at GCA.

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She expressed her appreciation to her Bainbridge High School and Young Harris coaches for their dedication and support.

“Coach Ariail and Coach Brown always challenged me to give a 100 percent effort every time I was on the field,” she said.

Ariail described Thomas as the kind of person and player who makes coaching soccer enjoyable.

“Whitney is a true competitor,” he said. “She constantly worked on her game and elevated herself at both the high school and collegiate level in the classroom and on the field. I believe she will excel as a coach as she has the drive and leadership along with the strong character that others will want to follow. Grace Christian is fortunate to have her on their staff and I wish her the best.”

Young Harris competes in the 14 school NCAA Division 11 Peach Belt Conference. Other conference members include Armstrong State University in Savannah, Clayton State University in Morrow, Columbus State University, Flaglar College in St. Augustine, Florida, Frances Marion University in Florence, South Carolina, and Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville.

Also in the conference are Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus, the University of North Georgia in Dajlonaga, Lander University in Greenwood South Carolina, Montevallo University in Montevallo, Alabama, Augusta State University, the University of South Carolina Aiken and the University of North Carolina Pembroke.