August 7, 2009 9:28:00 AM
Danny P Smith -
STARKVILLE -- The girls who make up the Starkville Academy soccer team weren''t born when Artie Cosby was a record-breaking kicker at Mississippi State.
All they know is he one day he could lead them to a championship.
Cosby takes over the reins as soccer coach at Starkville Academy, and he''s enjoyed preparing for the season.
"I couldn''t think of a better thing to do on Saturdays than to spend my time out here with these girls," Cosby said. "They''ve been real receptive, and the parents as well. I''ve been around soccer in Starkville for a long time, so several of these girls I''ve had contact with."
Cosby, who kicked at Mississippi State from 1983-86, still holds the school record for career field goals (48) and attempts (81). He is second on the career scoring chart with 211 points.
Even though he believes some of his players might have heard about his kicking accomplishments from their parents, Cosby said probably half of them "don''t have a clue" about his MSU days.
Senior Anne Claire Craig only heard about Cosby''s kicking abilities, but is more interested about his soccer history.
Craig got to know Cosby through the Starkville youth soccer association.
"He knows what he''s doing and he''s going to be able to help us a lot," Craig said.
The Lady Volunteers hope Cosby can help the program improve on last year''s record that was around the .500 mark.
Freshman Tiffany Huddleston believes Cosby has been around the sport enough to understand how to win.
"He grew up in Texas, and that''s a big soccer state," Huddleston said. "I played there against some teams and they are real competitive. I''m sure he''s been around the sport enough.
"He''s really organized and we''ve been doing a lot of drills. I know he''s coached some challenge teams before, so he''s had experience."
Huddleston expects Starkville Academy to be better because of the talent coming up from the seventh grade.
Even though there''s a void after the team lost midfielder Valerie Stewart to graduation, Cosby believes he can find the replacements.
"(Craig) is a very athletic girl and good soccer player," Cosby said. "She dominates wherever she is on the field.
"Tiffany is one of the younger girls, who was all-conference last year, but we also have Sallie Kate Richardson, Haley Jenkins, and Tiffany Evans, and Payton Allen will play (midfielder) some. Those are girls who have fabulous foot skills."
Cosby plans to run a 4-4-2 system, and believes the Lady Volunteers had a pretty good defensive squad with seniors Craig, Rachel Fuller, Bradley Booth, Katherine Robertson, and Michelle Padgett.
Offensively, Cosby is a little more concerned, but "absolutely pleased" six practices into the preseason.
Starkville Academy participates in a jamboree at Madison-Ridgeland Academy on Saturday and kicks off the regular season Thursday at Washington School in Greenville.