Livingston Lion soccer standout Kaela Marberry signed to attend school and play for Howard Payne University Wednesday at DeWalt Fieldhouse in a ceremony that included friends, coaches and family.
The Livingston defender said her initial interest in the school came when browsing through recruiting websites.
“(The school) had (re)searched me, so I was kind of interested in them. I went to a soccer game and it just felt like it was right for me to play with them. I toured the school and it went really good. They made it feel like home, so I applied and here I am.”
Marberry said Brownwood, where she will make her home for the next four years, seemed much like Livingston.
“It's kind of a small town, but I like it. It's nice. I like the campus and the overall feel.”
Howard Payne coach Brandon Badgeley joined the Howard Payne athletic department as the head women's coach in the spring of 2016.
Before HPU, the 2009 Howard Payne grad spent two seasons as head girls coach at Cedar Hill High School, increasing the team’s win total by seven games and achieving the first double-digit win season for the school in the last four years. He and the team will look to improve upon a 5-11-1 record from 2016.
“He's very nice and he made me feel like a part of the team even before I was accepted,” Marberry said of her new coach.
Though she was unaware before making her decision the Yellow Jacket signee and Livingston athletic director Brian Broussard now have a connection through the university.
“I actually did not find out that he was an alumni until after, so I thought that was really neat,” Marberry said.
In addition to soccer, Marberry is a varsity cheerleading co-captain, athletic trainer, and part of the student council. The daughter of John and Tamara Marberry plans to major in athletic training at Howard Payne with future aspirations of a doctorate in physical therapy.