Vicksburg’s Banks joining Warren County’s soccer elite

Published 9:02 am Friday, December 9, 2016

Mikayla Banks is set to break a few records in her senior season.

The Vicksburg High soccer player has already scored 18 goals in just six games, and has 129 in her outstanding high school career. Last week the forward was selected to play in the Mississippi Association of Coaches All-Star game in February.

State high school scoring records are unofficial and spotty, but the ones for the VHS program are well-documented and pushing toward those is pushing Banks to up her game. She needs eight goals to pass Kristin Chapman for second place on Vicksburg High’s career scoring list.

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“It excited me to know that I’m getting closer to them, and it makes me want to work harder,” Banks said.

Chapman scored 136 goals during the late 1990s to set both the school and state records when high school girls soccer in Mississippi was in its infancy. Brandi Parker broke both records a couple of years later and finished her career with 178.

Parker also has the school’s single-season record with 41 in the 2003-04 season. Banks wants to better that, and is on pace to do it.

“This year I’m trying to score 50. I’m just trying to go all out so somebody will have to catch me next time,” Banks said. “That’s my goal for myself this season.”

Another goal for this season is to score more than 10 goals in a single game to break the single-game record in Warren County. As of now the most goals she has scored in a game is seven, earlier this season against Lanier.

Banks has had a consistent career. She was The Vicksburg Post’s girls’ Player of the Year in 2014 and 2015. Only Parker has won it three times, from 2002-04. That’s another record Banks hopes to tie.

“I can only tie that record now,” Banks said. “I’ve got to work harder to get it this year so I can at least tie the record for that.”

Her father, Michael Banks, is Mikayla’s number one fan and personal statistician. She said he keeps up with everything she does and lets her know where she stands by the numbers.

“My dad is the one who is really always on top of it. He just lets me know when I’m getting close,” Banks said. “My dad lets me know after almost every game, ‘You have this many goals until you break this record or tie this record.’ That’s exciting to me.”

The goals she has set this year aren’t just for herself. She also has high hopes for her team. Banks hopes every one of her Missy Gator teammates improves during the season and they get back to the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.

The Missy Gators are only 3-3 so far this season, but are a perfect 2-0 in Division 4-5A after drubbing hapless Lanier twice. Their next game is Tuesday at home against Richland.

“I want us to make it all the way this year. I really do,” Banks said. “I believe we can do it if we work as a team. We’re doing pretty good as a team so far. I really believe we can make it all the way this year.”

Banks is currently trying to decide where she wants to play in college. Mississippi State had been her dream school for years, but she has received multiple offers from other schools, making the decision a tough one.

“It’s a tough decision,” Banks said. “With different coaches coming to talk to you, you never know what they’re going to offer you and who is going to offer you a full ride. I’m really just waiting.”

Banks said she started playing soccer at age 6, and stuck with it because of how much fun she has taking the field and the adrenaline she gets playing the game. All of her experiences have been positive, and Banks has never had any desire to quit.

“It’s fun. Scoring goals is fun. That’s what I like to do the most,” Banks said. “My teammates make me happy. I’ve never been around anybody, teammate wise, coach wise, that has made me not want to play soccer. As long as I stay around those kind of positive people, I’m going to forever want to play soccer.”