Byrd’s leading scorer and veteran coach earned more recognition after the Lady Jackets’ best soccer season in 20 years.
The National Soccer Coaches Association of America named forward Kyra Montes one of its 28 Winter-Spring High School All-Americans, and she joined Mandeville forward Manuel Mackenzie as the only Louisianans on the list. The 5A Offensive Player of the Year and Times Best of Preps Female Soccer Player of the Year finished her senior season at Byrd with 37 goals and 17 assists, but the honors still came as a surprise.
“I just wanted to go out with a bang, so I just wanted to leave it all out on the field,” Montes said. “But I didn’t realize how much I’d be awarded.”
Coach Lisa Levermann called Montes one of the best players she ever coached and a “dominant presence” on the field. Levermann also picked up another honor of her own when the NSCAA named her its Large High School Coach of the Year for Louisiana.
The Lady Jackets finished 29-2-1 and reached the 5A state championship for the first time since 1996. Despite an early goal from Montes, Mt. Carmel rallied for a 2-1 win to end Byrd’s 27-match unbeaten streak against North Louisiana’s most difficult schedule.
“Th chemistry was amazing,” Levermann said. “We had strong leadership, that was there for sure. Everyone respected everyone’s opinion, differences.”
It’s Levermann’s second time to win the award since she started the program in 1993. The Lady Jackets have had a few All-Region players, but Montes is the first All-American.
Byrd also nominated forward Hope Miletello, who scored 35 goals to go with two assists. Montes said she probably wouldn’t have scored half her goals without her fellow senior, and the Lady Jackets wouldn’t likely have made it past the quarterfinals for the first time in her career.
She plans to continue her career at Mississippi College, the National Christian College Athletic Association Runner-Up last season. Levermann said LSU showed some serious interest, but Montes wanted a Christian school where she could focus on academics and get more attention from professors.
The two award-winners hope to travel to Los Angeles next January to accept their awards at the annual NSCA meeting next January. Loyola girls soccer coach Mark Matlock made the trip this year as the NSCA’s Small School Coach of the Year.
Byrd also won the National Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award for the 19th consecutive year with the highest composite GPA of any team.