Rachel Barnett, of the Truett McConnell University women’s soccer team, is one of 27 athletes across the world to become a semifinalist in the 2020 Coach Wooden Citizen Cup (CWCC). The CWCC is an award formed by Athletes for a Better World (ABW) and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) to honor John Wooden, a basketball coach at UCLA who embodied characteristics of an athlete of excellence.

Barnett is now one of four TMU student-athletes that have become CWCC semifinalists; Victoria Schillinger (2017, women’s soccer), Joseph Hulen (2016, wrestling) and Meagan Taylor (2015, women’s soccer).

ABW’s comments about this honor: “The (CWCC) is presented to distinguished athletes – one professional, one collegiate, and two high school – for their character and leadership both on and off the field and for their contributions to sport and society. The goal of ABW is to make the CWCC the most prestigious award in all of sports. It is unique because it is open to all athletes in all sports and is given to those who have made the greatest difference in the lives of others.”

Barnett, a junior nursing student, has dedicated countless hours to serving others in multiple different communities, including spending her last four summers interning with Living Hope Ministries International (LHMI) at the Hope Centre orphanage in Migori, Kenya. Barnett spends her time at the orphanage teaching in the school, which was recently opened by LHMI, and taking care of the children within the village. She has also been heavily involved in the church planning initiative that the ministry is also working to launch. Other organizations that Barnett has been heavily involved with include the Mt. Yonah Food Distribution, the Delta Christmas Party for Foster Families, Night to Shine, Clarkston Refuge Ministry, Sharptop Cove Young Life Ministries and the list goes on.

Barnett was named a NAIA Scholar-Athlete following her sophomore season and has earned a spot on the Appalachian Athletic Conference All-Academic team twice. Barnett serves her team as a captain is a two-time All-AAC first team member as a centerback.

“I have had the privilege of working with many high quality and high character student-athletes during my time here at TMU; Rachel is definitely one of these students,” Head Coach David McDowell said. “I’m constantly amazed and inspired by her personal integrity, work ethic, humility, sacrifice and commitment levels. She is one of the most selfless people I know, constantly giving and serving both on and off campus.

When I think of Rachel, I think of a person who is a loyal friend, a strong competitor, a servant-leader, and most importantly, a true disciple of Christ. To earn this John Wooden accolade, who also possessed all of these characteristics, is an amazing feat but one that Rachel is so deserving of. She exemplifies what it truly means to be excellent, and we as a soccer program and institution are very blessed to have such a student representing us.”


Joan Suggs is the Sports Information Director for Truett McConnell Athletics.

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