MacKinnon brings love for soccer to the women’s team


Sean Hastings

Junior forward Kathleen MacKinnon is from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. She has one goal and two assists this season.

Elias Albert, Staff Reporter

Distance from home means nothing for Eastern women’s soccer junior forward Kathleen MacKinnon.

She travels all throughout the Midwest with her teammates and coaches during the season, but the trip she took from home is a much longer one.

MacKinnon was recruited by coach Jason Cherry out of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, over 1300 miles away from Charleston.

She is one of two players on the team who are from Canada, the other being midfielder Karlee Deacon out of Kitchener, Ontario.

MacKinnon began playing soccer when she was 4 years old. She has been a forward for the majority of her soccer career and has seen time at both striker and winger.

“Soccer is popular where I’m from,” MacKinnon said. “My parents got both my sister and I into it and it has stuck ever since.”

During her time at Dartmouth High School, where MacKinnon also ran track, she played for the Ottawa Fury and Dartmouth United soccer clubs. She also saw action for Nova Scotia Under age 14 and under age 16 teams.

Whenever she gets the chance to head back home, she said her favorite thing to do is walk along the Atlantic Ocean front with her dog.

Despite a strong soccer environment and culture back home, Eastern was an easy choice for MacKinnon.

“I loved Eastern from the beginning,” MacKinnon said. “It’s a beautiful campus and it won me over right away. I know it’s a bit of a trip from where I’m from, but it’s worth it to me.”

She said the competition in the U.S. is a bit more challenging, which is the reason why she left Canada to come to America.

MacKinnon said Eastern has been a great experience off the field as well.

She majors in health professions with a minor in business administration.

“So far, I love my major,” MacKinnon said. “The support system for student athletes is tremendous and there is such a feeling of community here at Eastern.”

Mackinnon said she also finds time to enjoy some of the other things that Charleston has to offer, including Fox Ridge State Park.

When it comes to being on the field and involved with the team, Mackinnon said she wouldn’t want to change anything that’s around her.

“From the start, I learned that this was the place for me,” Mackinnon said. “Carlee showed me around and introduced me to the team before I even committed here and I could tell that I’d be comfortable with everyone on the team.”

She has been with the Eastern program since 2013 and has found a way to have an impact over time.

Mackinnon has recorded four career assists and scored her first collegiate goal earlier this season.

Her goal came in a loss to Bowling Green State University. She led the team in shot attempts with three and even added to her assist total in the game against BGSU.

Cherry said that he’s thankful to have MacKinnon on the team.

“She’s a great player,” Cherry said. “She works very hard. She’s a pure athlete, technically sound and, most of all, very competitive.”

Cherry said he doesn’t see any reason why MacKinnon can’t end up on the box score of any given game.

For MacKinnon, there is still more work to be done and more goals to be scored this season.

She said that she’d like to help her team pick up more victories this season, especially in the remaining home games. She also said she’d like score at least one more goal before the season ends.

“She’s more than capable of making things happen,” Cherry said. “I can guarantee that she’s any opponent’s scouting report.”

MacKinnon said that the motivation to push her in the right direction comes from a few different people.

“My father plays a huge role in motivating me,” MacKinnon said. “He’s been a part of my athletic career since the time I began playing.”

MacKinnon also said her motivation comes from her coaches and teammates.

Cherry said he has seen MacKinnon’s motivation and drive for himself.

“She always wants to improve,” Cherry said. “Whether it’s something physical or tactical, she’s working to get better.”

MacKinnon said her relationship with the team goes beyond just practices and play.

“I love everyone on the team,” MacKinnon said. “I honestly can’t pick out a favorite because everyone is. We’re just a big family and it’s been that way since I first got here.”

MacKinnon said she wants to see her team succeed while she’s here, just as the whole roster does.

“We have an opportunity to play at this level,” MacKinnon said. “I just want to be able to say that we did the best that we could and hopefully that’s where we’d like to end up.”

MacKinnon and the rest of the women’s soccer team will have a chance to move closer to their goals Friday, as visit Austin Peay and Sunday, when they travel to Murray State.


Elias Albert can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]