Desoto County Sports

Five Northwest soccer players sign for four-year schools

Photo: Avery Hooker, Evie Crawford, Jadyn Duran, Mia Kate Cade and Kaley Harden all signed with four-year programs on Wednesday afternoon, marking seven members of the 2023 Northwest squad that have signed to compete at the next level. Also pictured is Northwest head coach James Beattie and assistant coach Brandon Boren. (Photo credit: Carly Fox,

By Brian Lentz, NWCC Sports Information Director

Coming off a pair of back-to-back historic seasons, the Northwest women’s soccer program had five of its departing sophomores sign with four-year programs on Wednesday afternoon, April 10.

Forwards Evie Crawford and Jadyn Duran, midfielders Avery Hooker and Mia Kate Cade, and defender Kaley Harden all signed their respective letters of intent in a ceremony at the Northwest soccer complex. In all, coach James Beattie has sent seven members of the 2023 NJCAA Region 23 championship squad to the four-year level, following the signings of Amaya Andrews (Jackson State) and Raylin Dixon (Jacksonville State) back in December.

Crawford inked with Jacksonville State University, becoming the third member of last season’s team to sign with a Division I program. The two-time Second Team All-MACCC selection had a strong career for Northwest, finishing with 17 assists and 25 goals, respectively ranking fourth and fifth in the career record totals. The Tupelo native’s 17 assists rank only behind former teammate and current record-holder Jennifer Enriquez (30; 2021-22) and 19 apiece from Gena Gutierrez (2004-05) and Ally Bailey (2019-21).

Additionally, Crawford also finishes her Northwest career with 67 points, tied for sixth all-time with Gutierrez. Thirty-nine of her points came this season, which ranks ninth in a single season, while her 11 assists rank fifth and her 14 goals have her tied for eighth in a single season, joining Delgado, Bailey (2021) and Lindsey Young (2003).

Harden and Hooker will both join Delta State University this upcoming season, becoming just the third and fourth players from Northwest to ever join the Lady Statesmen. Harden, a defender from Carrollton, tacked on five assists last season and concluded her Lady Ranger career with three goals and five assists. She also earned Honorable Mention All-MACCC accolades during her sophomore campaign.

After her freshman season was derailed by an injury, Hooker bounced back for her sophomore season, starting in six of 21 matches. The Tupelo product tallied four goals and four assists, and was chosen to compete in last December’s MACCC All-Star Match.

Cade, a native of Starkville, signed to continue her career with Belhaven University. She provided nine assists as a sophomore, ranking third on the team in that category. Cade also played in 19 matches, earning five starts, while also being chosen to compete in the MACCC All-Star Match.

Duran signed with The University of the Southwest, an NAIA program in Hobbs, N.M. The product of Las Cruces, N.M. left a tremendous impact during her two seasons at Northwest, leaving her mark in the program’s record books. Duran ranks sixth in career assists (14) and 10th in both career points (52) and career goals (19).

“This class has yet again raised the bar for this program,” Beattie said, in a statement. “This is a special group of players, but more importantly, a special group of young women that have shaped me, my staff, this program and the college for years to come. I have loved coaching them and I cannot wait to see them continue to grow academically and athletically.”

Northwest finished 21-2 on the season, winning the NJCAA Region 23 title and garnering a co-MACCC championship. It also marked the Lady Rangers’ second consecutive trip to the NJCAA Division II Women’s Soccer Tournament. For the program’s efforts, head coach James Beattie won Region 23 Coach of the Year, MACCC Coaching Staff of the Year and the NJCAA Gulf South District Coach of the Year accolades.

In all, 17 of Beattie’s Northwest student-athletes have moved on to compete at the four-year level.