GIRLS SOCCER

Birmingham sisters have Kouts soccer off to fast start

2013-09-08T17:30:00Z 2013-09-15T17:33:03Z Birmingham sisters have Kouts soccer off to fast startAndrew Stem Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
September 08, 2013 5:30 pm  • 

Whenever Kouts junior Maranda Birmingham lines up against her younger sister Gracie in practice, there’s always a little extra motivation to make a play.

“Whenever we go for a ball, we’re always going after it,” Maranda said. “It’s more than going after our other teammates. I’m always pushing her to take the ball from me, and I’m always trying to take the ball from her.”

Both midfielders, Maranda, who has totaled four goals and an assist in the early going, and Gracie, a freshman, are taking full advantage of playing together on the same team for the first time since they were young.

The Fillies are off to a 4-1 start in their second year as a varsity program.

“The nice part is that they have very similar styles of play,” Kouts coach Tim Schwartz said. "They have good speed and good foot skills. They have strong legs. They can cross the ball or they can shoot it.”

Maranda was the leading scorer for the Fillies as a sophomore. She has been practicing as the backup goalkeeper and Schwartz appreciates her versatility.

“I can put her anywhere,” he said. “At one of our matches, we were playing around with her at sweeper in case we need her to play defense.

“She so confident in what she does and likes to be all over the field.”

The sisters have no problems passing the ball to each other on the field.

“Whenever I have it on one side, Gracie is on the opposite side,” Maranda said. “I know she will be there when I cross it. It’s the same for her. She knows I will be there when she crosses it.”

Gracie said that her connection with her sister is the strongest of any she has on the team.

“When she talks, I know what she’s thinking,” she said. “I know where she’s going to go with the ball. We definitely have a stronger connection than with anybody else. We know exactly what’s going to happen.”

The Kouts soccer program has been a family affair for the Birminghams. Youngest sister, Serena, is in seventh grade and will be on the team in two years, and Jack, Maranda and Gracie’s father and former Athletic Director and Assistant Principal at Kouts, was instrumental in starting the team.

“He provided so much support to get the program going,” Schwartz said. “I sure am glad when he got the job (at Wheeler Elementary School) they didn’t have to move.”

The sisters appreciate their opportunities to play on the same team.

“It’s been a good experience for me,” Maranda said. “I get to show her what I have learned over the first two years. We get some one-on-one time together. It’s meaningful for her to be on there and we can experience the same things together.”

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which school has the area's best football team?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News