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NCAA Jun 14, 2024

University of Memphis signs Mackenzie Yoder, Ai Kitagawa and Kayla Barr

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – University of Memphis women’s soccer coach Brooks Monaghan has added three new faces to the roster for 2024 in Mackenzie Yoder, Ai Kitagawa and Kayla Barr.

“We are extremely excited to be adding Mackenzie, Ai and Kayla to the Tiger Family. Each of these young women are unique in their own way and we feel that all three of them are tremendous additions to the team and each will play a significant role in our success moving forward,” Monaghan said.

Mackenzie Yoder | Goalkeeper | Huntington Beach, Calif. | Edison High School | Slammers FC ECNL

Yoder comes to Memphis after a successful prep career at Edison High School where she was a two-sport athlete in soccer and field hockey. The three-year letter winner was part of the 2023-24 Soccer Sunset Wave League Championship team.

A member of Slammers FC ECNL for the last nine years, Yoder helped lead the team to a 2021-22 ECNL National Playoffs Sweet 16 and a 2022-23 Southwest Mojave ECNL Conference Championship in route to an ECNL National Playoff run to the Elite 8.

Why Memphis for Yoder: “I chose the University of Memphis and its soccer program because of the coaching staff and their ability to develop players and their team.”

Ai Kitagawa | Midfielder | Itami City, Hyogo, Japan | Osaka Gakugei Senior High School

Kitagawa comes to Memphis following a note-worthy career at Osaka Gakuegi Senior High School where she led the team to a SANIX Cup Title this past season along with a championship win in the women’s division in the Spring Soccer Tournament in 2023.

The back-to-back Osaka High School Soccer Player of the Year, Kitagawa was also tabbed as the school’s Most Outstanding Player in the 2023 Spring Soccer Tournament. Kitagawa participated in the All-Japan High School Girls Soccer Tournament from 2021-23 while picking up a 3rd place finish last season. She went on to score two goals during the Championship,

Why Memphis for Kitagawa: “The University of Memphis is one of the top women’s soccer schools in the country and has performed well in national tournaments. I wanted to play soccer at a great university to improve my soccer skills and raise the level of my game. I also wanted to learn soccer from great coaches and managers.”

Kayla Barr | Forward | Seymour, Tenn. | Maryville High School | Tennessee

Barr comes to the Bluff City after one season in Knoxville where she redshirted with the Volunteers.

A standout at Maryville High School, Barr was a four-time All-District, All-Region and All-State performer while crowned as the Rebels all-time leading scorer with 96 goals. The two-time United Soccer Coaches All-South Region selectee, Barr was named to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association All-State Team in 2020 as well as being a finalist for the Tennessee State Player of the Year, 5Star Preps Co-Player of the Year USA Today/Knoxville News Sentinel Female Soccer Player of the Year, the Maryville Daily Times Player of the Year and was named as the District Offensive Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons.

A member of FC Alliance ECNL, Barr was honored with ECNL First Team All-Conference Ohio Valley honors in 2020 and 2021 while playing in the ECNL Girls National Selection Game. Barr would also make appearances at the ECNL National Playoffs in 2019 and 2021.

Why Memphis for Barr: “I chose the University of Memphis for the supportive staff as well as the convenient campus and facilities.”

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