Conway’s most decorated player in the Lady Cats’ soccer program history will return home next semester.
Former University of Arkansas player Whitney Allison, 23, has been selected to head the Conway girls soccer program by athletic director Buzz Bolding. Allison plans on starting at her new post in January. Currently, Allison has plans on coaching the Lady Cats for one semester during the spring, replacing Justin Hawkins, who has been the Lady Cats’ coach for the past three years.
"Whitney has taken all of the courses that she needed to, and she’s certified through the Arkansas Activities Association," Bolding said. "It’s great that she’ll be able to coach in the spring. She’ll be great with the girls, and she’ll be able to relate to the team. So it’s a big move for our program."
Allison is welcoming her new challenge of being a volunteer coach with open arms. However, her main focus is taking the LSAT, so she can get accepted into law school before next August.
"I’m really excited," Allison said. "Coach Bolding gave me a call when they had the opening and I was like, ‘Wow!’ I couldn’t believe that he would give me a chance to lead the program. I know that there are many other capable coaches out there in this state who could lead this program. I’m grateful for the opportunity."
Allison earned all-conference and all-state in her high school career, and for the Lady ‘Backs, her accomplishments kept coming, including All-SEC honors.
"I bleed Razorback red," Allison said. "It was an honor to play for Arkansas and represent our school against some of the best teams in the nation. I love Fayetteville and I’m glad that it’s only two hours from Conway, because I was able to always come back home if I needed too. I’m not dissing any other schools or programs in Arkansas, but the state supports all of the Razorbacks’ sports and I love it."
Allison said that her first-hand experience with Conway’s and Arkansas’ soccer programs will help bring ideas to the table.
"Soccer is a very mental game," said Allison. "It’s a fluid game, and it’s a game where the players are constantly thinking and moving. We have to be able to attack mentally. I’ve always been in an attacking position when I played and that’s how we’re going to think offensively."
Allison continued, "Everything starts with defense. Defense is the starting line in our offense. That’s how we’re going to be able to attack back."
Allison, who is scheduled to get her undergraduate degree in political science in December, is putting together her spring agenda, with high school tryouts.
"We’re going to do the basics," Allison said. "You have to have the basics down in soccer first. Hopefully, I can be able to teach them everything that I’ve learned while playing at Conway and Arkansas. It’s going to be a fun year and I’m excited. Now, I’m looking forward to returning back and getting some wins as a head coach. I love the game of soccer and it’ll always be a part of me, no matter what profession I decide to go into."