Harknett Combines Local Roots And Brazilian Flair

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Freshman Gretchen Harknett

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Freshman Gretchen Harknett
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Aug 30, 2013

By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com

OXFORD, Miss. -- While senior Rafaelle Souza is the team's lone Brazilian native, she is not the only Rebel to show a Brazilian flair on the soccer pitch. Enter freshman starting right back Gretchen Harknett, a native of Memphis, Tenn., by way of Escola Americana de Campinas in Campinas, Brazil.

She played soccer at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis for her first three years of high school and also served as team captain of her club soccer team, the Collierville Lady Lobos, alongside future Ole Miss teammates Melissa Capocaccia, Addie Forbus and Mackenze Parma.

Her senior year, Harknett's father got a job promotion, so she and her whole family moved to Brazil, where she also played soccer and attended an American school.

"I really enjoyed the experience," Harknett said. "It was a journey for sure, and there were a lot of obstacles, like learning a learning a new language and meeting new friends. It was senior year for me, so I had to leave my club team, my school and my hometown, and I was missing graduation and all the senior experiences.

"But overall, I enjoyed the experience. I got to join a Brazilian club team, and that helped me expand on my soccer skills, and I made a bunch of new friends."

On the field, she led the Sao Paulo High League in scoring that season and helped lead her team to the league championship. It was, however, a very different brand of soccer than she was used to playing.

"The way the Brazilians play is a lot different from the way Americans play," Harknett said. "They're very fast paced, and their foot skills are incredible. It's always go forward and go to goal. It was a cool experience because I got to play different positions. I got to play up top some, and I led the Sao Paulo high school league in goals. I got to play a whole different style of soccer."

That experience, Ole Miss head coach Matt Mott said, helped her technique. And some of the things Harknett can do with the ball reminds him of the senior, Souza.

"If you look at Rafa, she is one of the most technical players in the country," Mott said. "And you can see that in Gretchen. The little flicks and the little things she does with both feet clearly is an influence from the Brazilian style of play.

"Her ability with the ball, to beat players with the ball, and be tricky with the ball. That's the Brazilian influence. They like to beat players. Rafa will sometimes beat a player a couple of times before she gets past them. And Gretchen has a lot of the same qualities that she learned in her year in Brazil."

Her work rate and play-making ability, were what stood out to Mott when watching Harknett in high school and club competition.

A natural center midfielder, a position Mott said he expects she will eventually play, Harknett started her first two college games at right back, where her skill set also translates well.

"She's able to strike the ball really well with both her right and left foot," Mott said. "She's strong. She's good in the air. She tackles. Gretchen can also connect passes and score from distance. It's all of the things you want in a right back, but it's also things you want in a midfielder."

Harknett's father remains in Brazil, but he will be able to make some of her games this season, which will make those games extra special for her.

"It's definitely hard because I want to him to be at my games, and I would rather have him in America, of course," Harknett said. "But he needs to be there. He comes back every month to see the family, and will come to some games. We'll also take trips to Brazil. I'm looking forward to that."

Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Blog
    • Quarterback Competition Begins in Earnest

      Tuesday, March 3, 2015 - Football

      Ole Miss began spring practice Tuesday, and for the first time under head coach Hugh Freeze, the Rebels will have a starting quarterback not named Bo Wallace. With the graduation of Wallace, sophomores Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade, as well... read more

    • Freeze, Rebels at SEC Media Days on July 16

      Tuesday, March 3, 2015 - Football

      The Southeastern Conference announced today Kickoff '15, its annual football media days, will be held July 13-16, remaining at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham - Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala. The event will continue to be four days in 2015. The... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Feb. 24-March 2, 2015)

      Monday, March 2, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewFeb. 24-March 2, 2015Track & Field - Ole Miss got SEC titles from Jalen Miller (60m), Daniel Bulmer (mile) and the distance medley relay, and the Rebels achieved their best SEC indoor finish since 1984.... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- March 1

      Sunday, March 1, 2015 - Athletics

      The calendar turned to March, as the men's and women's basketball teams march toward the SEC Tournament and postseason play. The baseball team faced perhaps its biggest challenge of nonconference play. The softball and men's tennis teams each had another... read more

    • Rebels Look to Add to NCAA Tournament Case

      Sunday, March 1, 2015 - Women's Basketball

      The numbers and bracket projections may not be in his favor at this point, but head women's basketball coach Matt Insell is selling the NCAA Tournament selection committee on his team passing the eye test, as Ole Miss enters its... read more

    • Kennedy, Rebels Look to Flush LSU Loss

      Saturday, February 28, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      BATON ROUGE, La. -- With an opportunity to perhaps lock itself into the NCAA Tournament, or at the very least enhance its resume, Ole Miss lost back-to-back games for the first time all season, falling on the road at LSU... read more

    • Rebels Look to Enhance NCAA Tournament Resume

      Saturday, February 28, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      Despite the most recent home loss to Georgia on Wednesday night, Ole Miss remains a team projected to be solidly in the field, as the Rebels put their school record four-game SEC road winning streak on the line when they... read more

    • PHOTOS: Ole Miss Snow Day 2015

      Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - Athletics

      Here's a collection of snow days photos from Ole Miss Athletics Photographer Josh McCoy (@OleMissPix):The Pavillion at Ole Miss in winter! #SnowDay2015 #WAOM @OleMissSports @OleMissMBB @OleMissWBB pic.twitter.com/nHyhVPlDvG-- OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) February 25, 2015 Awweeee.... #SnowDay2015 #WAOM @OleMissSports @OleMissFB pic.twitter.com/R1BDZ0shvS-- OleMissPix (@OleMissPix)... read more

    • VIDEO: The Flagship Football Promo

      Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - Football

      read more

    • Rebels Ready for Rematch with Georgia

      Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      If recent history is any indication, Ole Miss and Georgia are likely to go down to the wire on Wednesday night. Four of the last five meetings over the last three seasons have been decided by five points or less,... read more

    • VIDEO: The Pavilion Time Lapse

      Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      read more

    • Golson, Prewitt Compete at NFL Combine

      Monday, February 23, 2015 - Football

      The defensive backs, including former Ole Miss players Senquez Golson and Cody Prewitt, participated in on-field workouts at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine on Monday in Indianapolis. Looking ahead, Ole Miss will hold its annual pro day on March 5... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Feb. 17-23, 2015)

      Monday, February 23, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review Feb. 17-23, 2015 Men's Basketball - Ole Miss posted a 2-0 mark last week with a 71-65 win at Mississippi State and a 59-57 victory over Tennessee. The Rebels improved to 10-4 in the... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Feb. 22

      Sunday, February 22, 2015 - Athletics

      Despite winter weather that affected many teams, it was a busy week for Ole Miss athletics. The men's basketball completed a 2-0 week and has positioned itself well entering the last two weeks of the regular season. The baseball, women's... read more

    • Bramlett Impresses in First Two Starts Back

      Sunday, February 22, 2015 - Baseball

      After missing the end of the 2013 season and the entire 2014 season due to recovery from a torn labrum, sophomore right-hander Brady Bramlett has been brilliant in his first two outings back in 2015, fanning 19 batters through 12.0... read more