When Makena Morris made a trip to Great Falls in early August, she had no intention of continuing her soccer career at the collegiate level.
But when the Belgrade senior left following a campus visit at the University of Providence, she did so with a college scholarship. Morris made it official Nov. 19, signing with the NAIA program.
“They were the only school that gave me a scholarship and I wasn’t going to play college soccer,” Morris said. “But they have the best programs, so I decided that was the best place for me to get my education. It just happened to work in soccer.”
Morris was invited to practice with the team, and then spent a night with players, during her visit and had a change of heart. It was a whirlwind 48 hours, and Morris admitted she doesn’t know much about the program other than Providence competes in the Cascade Collegiate Conference.
“I don’t know too much about it,” Morris said. “But they’re making their roster bigger so we have some more play room and less injuries.”
Morris, who plans to play on the wing, helped Belgrade reach the state Class A semifinals as a junior. The Panthers moved up to the AA level beginning this fall, and the team finished with a 2-8-3 record.
Morris, who scored two goals this fall, felt the higher level of competition prepared her for Providence, and was thrilled to be a part of Belgrade’s inaugural AA campaign.
“It was nerve-racking, but I was excited I got to help lead the team through the change,” said Morris. “I think we did really well. Better than a lot of people expected us to do.”
Morris plans to study bachelor exercise and then pursue a master degree in occupational therapy.