Jackon Ironladies soccer
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Brock Netter

Brock is SOSA's primary writer and has worked for the Coshocton Tribune, the Kankakee Daily Journal (Ill.) and the Vinton-Jackson Courier. He's a two-time award-winning journalist, a lifelong WWE fan, a suffering Bengals fan and calls the sidelines his home.

Jackson tabs Karena Fulks to lead girls soccer program

The Ironladies have won 43 matches in the past four seasons.

Brock Netter, Staff Writer

Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.

JACKSON — Karena Fulks has already made a name for herself at Jackson High School.

Jackson’s Braelyn Brennan helped the Ironladies win a sectional title last season. She’ll be back this fall under newly hired head coach Karena Fulks.
CREDIT: Derrick Webb/SOSA

The first thing that comes to mind when Fulks is discussed is most likely her success on the track. During her career, she won 11 district championships, a regional crown and took home a state championship in 2012 with a mark of 18-feet-5 in the Division II long jump.

The title of “champion” stays with you forever.

But now Folks is adding another title to her legacy: soccer coach. With the sudden departure of Jon Groff just a few weeks ago, Fulks jumped at the opportunity to become the Ironladies’ newest head coach. 

And, while her track and field career may stand out, she’s no stranger to the pitch.

“I’ve always had a huge passion for the game. Most remember me running track and whatnot, but I think a lot of people forget that I also played soccer for three years in high school,” Fulks said. “I love learning about the game, and when this opportunity came up, I jumped at it. The chance to come back and coach at the program I played for was something I didn’t see coming, but I’m glad it did.” 

Although this is her first time being a soccer coach, she’s not new to the coaching game as she’s spent the last two seasons leading Jackson’s cheerleading program. 

While cheerleading and soccer feature two completely different styles of competition and preparation, having experience in knowing how to lead a group translates into any walk of life. 

“Spending the last two years coaching with Tiffany Boggs and Cortney Butcher has been incredible and I really learned a lot from them,” Fulks said. “Gamedays are going to feel a lot different going from cheerleading to soccer, how we train is different, how we game plan is different … But we have a great group of players and I’m ready for this challenge.” 

There is also familiarity for her within her coaching staff as longtime assistant coach Terry Wechter, who also coached Fulks as a player, will remain in his position. 

She’s also bringing along Jordan Lower to the coaching staff, who played goalkeeper in college at the University of Rio Grande. 

“[Wechter] has been a part of this program for as long as I can remember and there’s no way I’d be able to do this without him,” Fulks said. “His knowledge of the game is vast, and we have similar views and visions for where we want this team and program to go. Adding Jordan is going to help in so many ways, especially with [Jackson senior keeper] Mattie [Walburn]. She’s already an outstanding goalie and his knowledge is only going to make her better.”

Over the past four years, Jackson has won 43 matches, which includes a sectional title last season. Fulks understands the winning standard the program has and wants to elevate that level of expectation under her watch.

“I played under Robin Profitt, who was a great coach and a mentor for me. And when she left, Jackson got Chris Skarratt, and he did such great things with the program,” Fulks said. “Then he left and Jon Groff took over and was great with the team. So it’s definitely a little intimidating following in those footsteps. 

“You always want to make it your program when you step into the role of head coach and that is something that will come over time. The focus is solely on the season and, even though I’m getting a late start time wise, these girls have been training with Groff all summer and they’re committed to having a great season.”


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