Freshman sensation Rickey Vaughn is a star on the rise for Callaway
Published 8:00 am Thursday, April 6, 2023
Freshman sensation Rickey Vaughn has carved out more than a supporting role on Callaway’s soccer team, as he has been one of the team’s star players. Vaughn finished the regular season as the team’s leading goal scorer, tallying 23 goals on the season, which is something he never dreamed was possible at the beginning of the season.
He is not just a goal scorer even though that feeling of putting the ball in the back of the net is unmatched; “It’s amazing having all your teammates running to you. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”
He is also a playmaker and facilitator for the team as a point man up front, finishing the regular season tied for second in assists on the team with seven.
Despite his youth, Vaughn has a body frame textbook for being a target man up front, standing at over six feet with a stable platform; he will only get stronger and more physically imposing as the years go by. Vaughn also has incredible agility and footwork that makes him hard to slow down and contain when he is on the attack.
“The high school level is more physical than what I’ve played before, and I had to adjust to the physical nature of playing against guys that are older than me,” Vaughn said. “I feel confident in my passing and dribbling.”
Vaughn is often shy and unassuming off the field, but channels all his emotions through his play on the field. Growing up, he struggled to cope when his father was in the military and spent time overseas on duty, which left a young Vaughn scrambling to figure out life without the presence of his father. This led to him being unfocused in school where his grades slipped.
It was not until he found soccer in the second grade that he fully came out of his shell. A modest and emotional young boy found his charisma and the spark of life he needed on a soccer pitch.
That seed that was planted in the second grade has grown and flourished over the years. After years of playing parks and rec soccer, Vaughn has now been applying his craft with travel ball teams the last several years and is currently a member of the UMA FC team based out of Opelika.
“Playing with them has helped my confidence out,” Vaughn said. “They have really helped develop my individual skills. They have helped get me better in a lot of areas.”
Vaughn was a focal point during the one season in which Callaway Middle had a soccer team. He was one of the main reasons for the program’s successful first year, and he has made the same type of impact at the high school this year.
“The team is working hard and trying to win games and I’m a piece of that,” Vaughn said. “I knew I wanted to come in here and compete, but I didn’t know I would get this much game time.”
Soccer is nothing that runs in the family, but it is something that Vaughn has fallen head over heels for and his parents have been there every step of the way and have learned the game along with him.
“We are learning through him,” Rickey’s mom Sophia Vaughn said. “We watch soccer games with him and have been encouraging him and pushing him to continue to play as long as this is what he wants to do. We are his no. 1 fans.”
His family is his prime motivating factor. Vaughn is still pursuing the ungraspable idea of perfection as he looks to sharpen his game.
“I’m still working on my shooting,” Vaughn said. “I’m also working on tracking back and defending, which is something that I’ve struggled with.”
Vaughn is a Callaway guy through and through. It has been a path he has walked for quite some time, going to Callaway since he was a little boy in the elementary school. Being a Cavalier is all he knows.
“It is amazing to be a Cavalier, I’ve been going to Callaway my whole life,” he said. “I will always be loyal to Callaway.”