High School Soccer

Soccer: Centennial alum Williams hired to lead Lady Cougars

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MaryLynn Williams

MaryLynn Williams 

Centennial High School graduate and former Summit assistant coach MaryLynn Williams was officially announced as the new head girls’ soccer coach at Centennial this week.

Williams, a 2009 graduate of CHS, has spent the last four years as an assistant coach for former Lady Spartans soccer coach Clay Watson, who stepped down earlier this year. Williams replaces Gerardo Caceres, who coached the Lady Cougars for three seasons.

“It’s great to be back at Centennial,” Williams said. “This is exciting … I have a lot of Summit swag, but I guess I’ll just have to break out my old CHS gear for now.”

Williams, who played two seasons of college soccer at Asbury University in Kentucky before transferring to the University of Tennessee at Martin, joined Watson’s staff following a chance meeting.

“I still play soccer frequently and ran into Clay in a co-ed league,” she said. “Someone on my team heard he had got the Summit job and I asked if needed an assistant and that’s really how I got into coaching.”

Williams has a diverse sports background from playing, coaching and reporting from the sidelines. She graduated from UT-Martin in 2014 with a broadcast journalism degree and served as the school’s radio station director. She has worked with 102.5 The Game and interned in the media relations department with the Tennessee Titans, while working as a sideline reporter and play-by-play broadcaster for other outlets.

Williams was also the Thompson’s Station Middle School boys’ soccer assistant coach and has coached for the Tennessee Soccer Club as well. She said she’s excited about the challenge of joining the head coaching ranks in the tough District 12-AAA, which produced an all-district Class AAA championship in November for the first time when the Ravenwood girls up-ended Brentwood for the school’s first soccer championship.

“Williamson County is by far one of the most talented areas in the state,” Williams said. “As someone who has played in the area, you just see the talent growing more and more here. If you can survive play in this district, you can compete just about anywhere.

“It’s going to be a challenge, but a good challenge. I’m just so happy to be able to coach in this district.”

Watson, who was replaced by Deni Ismailovic earlier this year after stepping down, said Williams has a unique perspective of the district having worked alongside him the past four seasons.

“She has high school and club coaching experience to go a long with a long history of playing experience at different levels which creates a super high soccer IQ that will serve her and the Centennial community well,” Watson said. “She is going to work hard and pour every bit of herself into this job.”

Williams joins three other new coaches in the district: Jessica Mancini at Ravenwood, Maggie McLaughlin at Brentwood and Ismailovic.

Williams actually played against Mancini in high school and the two competed in intramural ball together at UT-Martin.

“We see what it takes to be the best in the state on a weekly basis against one another in this district,” Williams said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun establishing a program. I’m just so ready to get out there and get to work with the girls.”

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