POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Two Pearl River soccer standouts are moving on to the next level.
Yayira "Zigi" Ahortor (Accra, Ghana) has signed with Jackson State, while Shelby Harrington (Oak Grove) is headed to Mississippi University for Women.
"I'm really proud of Zigi and Shelby," Pearl River coach Henrik Madsen said. "Zigi is an unbelievably talented player and even better teammate. I think she will do very well at the next level. Shelby had a great year for us. She will add quality to the W with her pace and ability to cross the ball.
"I look forward to watching her succeed next season."
After scoring two goals and adding two assists as a freshman in 2018, Ahortor really evolved into a complete attacker under Madsen's guidance. The Ghanaian finished third on the Wildcats with five goals. She also added four assists, good enough for second on the team.
Following the season, Ahortor was named to the All-Region XXIII squad and also played in the MACJC All-Star Game.
"Playing at Pearl River has brought a lot of light into my life," Ahortor said. "It changed my life drastically and it has helped me to grow. The River is where I can say I began to grow as an athlete because of the amazing opportunities I was presented with."
Now Ahortor moves on to a JSU squad that's a member of the SWAC and coming off of an 8-12 season in 2019.
"I chose to go to Jackson State to be challenged in order to grow and become a better player on the field and a better person off the field," she said. "Most importantly it is because of the incredible academic opportunities that I decided to go to JSU."
The 5-foot-8 Harrington developed a strong skill of whipping crosses into the box from the wing during her time at Pearl River. The forward appeared in 17 games as a freshman in 2018, netting two goals. Like Ahortor, Harrington improved her production in '19, scoring three goals and adding two assists.
"In my two years playing at PRCC, I had a wonderful supportive soccer family and my game got better each year," Harrington said. "I'm so thankful to my teammates and coaches for pushing me to improve."
Harrington joins an Owls squad that's now led by Catie Lyles. Former PRCC coach Jack Byrd coached The W to a 10-7-1 record in '19 before leaving the USCAA program for a job at IMG Academy in Florida.
"I wanted to play at the next level and was looking for a smaller four-year campus." Harrington said. "I talked with Coach Lyles, and she made it an easy choice."
ABOUT THE WILDCATS
The Wildcats are fresh off of an 8-4-2 debut season for Madsen. PRCC won eight MACJC contests and clinched the South Division title but were eliminated in the conference semifinals.
Following the season, Alexa Beets (Long Beach), Maddie Beets (Long Beach), Bailey Ridley (Clinton) and Jade Shaw (Carriere) were named to the All-MACJC squad. Ahortor was joined on the All-Region XXIII squad by goalkeeper Paige Horsnell (London, England)
Madsen has landed nine players for his 2020 signing class. The incoming Wildcat class is comprised of midfielder Lily Lentz of Gilbert, Arizona, Ocean Springs defender Erin Clifford, George County goalkeeper Kylie Dailey, Biloxi striker Aubrie Edwards, East Central midfielder Katie Havard, Pearl River Central midfielder Samantha Kennedy, Hattiesburg F.C. midfielder Jennifer Satcher, Gulfport centerback Bailey Smith and Long Beach midfielder Sydney Spataro.
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