KC Rebels touts its second NCAA Division I commitment

KC Rebels touts its second NCAA Division I commitment
Ella Shafer (2023 Class, Bradley Commit) on the left and Gianna Shafer (2023 Class, UMKC Commit) on the right.
The KC Rebels Gianna Lickel (2023) joins Ella Shafer (2023) as the organization’s second future NCAA Division I athlete.

Overland Park, Kan. – Gianna Lickel (2023) has become the second KC Rebel to commit to an NCAA DI program verbally; Lickel is headed to Kansas City’s Hometown Division I program, UMKC. Lickel joins Ella Shafer (2023), who verbally committed to Bradley in July. Both players play on KC Rebels 18 National – Ingle.

Lickel was in communications with the Kansas City aRoo’s new Head Coach Kiki Stokes O’Connor while she coached at Division II Upper Iowa. 

“Once it was announced she (Kiki Stokes O’Connor) was headed to UMKC, it became the new dream. I love her as a Coach, and knowing she is a local with deep-rooted history makes it even more special. No doubt in my mind I was meant to be a Roo.” said Lickel.

These commitments are particularly exciting as Lickel and Shafer are homegrown Rebels, meaning they have been Rebels since its founding and are products of the “fundamental focused” infrastructure. Both athletes started as 12C players and were groomed into exceptional Division I candidates.

“As Gianna and Ella’s coach from 14s-16s, you knew there was something special about them,” said Mark Jenkins, Rebels Co-Founder, and Coach. “They just worked so hard. You couldn’t stop them.”

Those sentiments were echoed by the player’s current Head Coach Mark Ingle of KC Rebels 18 National – Ingle. “Gianna and Ella are those special players that work on their game daily,” said Ingle. “They had so many choices, some close, some far… I am so happy with their decisions.”

The KC Rebels started with only a few teams before 2018, but the organization kicked into high gear in 2019, opening indoor facilities and expanding teams. “We wanted to do it (KC Rebels) the way we saw the old school highly respected organizations like the Beverly Bandits, and more recently Iowa Premier and Thunderbolts have done,” said Chris Olsen, another Co-Founder, and 14 National Coach. “Focusing on fundamentals and the total athlete. We are building a program that doesn’t just add teams year-over-year, but plans to develop from within with our year-long organizational skills programs and even an in-house personal trainer who trains all of our athletes to become stronger, faster, and better life-long athletes.”

The KC Rebels founders are Dan Lickel, Mark Jenkins, Chris Olsen, and John Shafer. The Rebels have approximately 20 teams but plan to remain around that number and focus on developing national-level talent from local areas. 

“We develop and ride with what we’ve got. Focus on developing that player to their absolute fullest potential,” says Dan Lickel, Co-Founder and Director of Recruiting. “We don’t cut; we just ensure the players are on the right team to develop to their highest level. You will see us (coaches) work years on players others would just sit, or cut and replace.”

“I think what’s best about this announcement is that we have even more exciting athletes coming down the pipe,” continued Lickel. “Down to the 2030 Recruiting Class, you’ll see many elite college athletes coming from the Rebels.”

“In talking with college coaches during this process, there is a desire to make Kansas City softball the hub for talent with all our up-and-coming clubs and teams,” said John Shafer, Co-Founder. “The coaches want it; it is on us coaches and club runners to deliver skilled and developed talent.

“To us, it’s about doing it the right way. Sure we will and have made mistakes. And we regret those mistakes,” said Shafer. “But as we tell our athletes, we train today to become better tomorrow.”

KC Rebels is located in Overland Park, Kansas. You can find them at their website rebelssoftball.org or on social media using the following handles:

Facebook: facebook.com/rebelssoftball.org

Twitter: twitter.com/KCRebelsOrg

KC Rebels Team List:

  • KC Rebels 18 National – Ingle: Head Coach Mark Ingle

  • KC Rebels 18 – Jenkins: Head Coach Mark Jenkins

  • KC Rebels 18 – Soldner: Head Coach Brian Soldner

  • KC Rebels 18 – Dee: Head Coach Micah Dee

  • KC Rebels 16 – Splittorff: Head Coach Jennifer Splittorff

  • KC Rebels 16 – Clark: Head Coach Aly Clark

  • KC Rebels 16B – Bernard: Head Coach Shay Bernard

  • KC Rebels 14 National: Head Coach Chris Olsen

  • KC Rebels 2026A: Head Coach John Shafer

  • KC Rebels 2027A: Co-Head Coach Clarisa (Cortez) Gatewood and Bobbi (Fry) Lewis

  • KC Rebels 14B – Theel: Head Coach Toby Theel

  • KC Rebels 14B – Burgoon: Head Coach Annette Burgoon

  • KC Rebels 2010A – Dearing: Head Coach Kurt Dearing

  • KC Rebels 2011A – Olsen: Head Coach Chris Olsen

  • KC Rebels 12B – Lickel: Head Coach Dan Lickel

  • KC Rebels 12C – Collins: Head Coach Meghan Collins

  • KC Rebels 10B/A – Coppage: Head Coach Tim Coppage

  • KC Rebels 10U: Co-Head Coached by Lyndsi Oestmann and Shawn Bender

  • KC Rebels 10C – Martin: Head Coached by Ben Martin

  • KC Rebels 8U – Calhoon: Head Coached by Gary Calhoon

  • (Baseball) KC Rebels 9U – Lewis: Head Coached by Zach Lewis

Media Contact
Company Name: KC Rebels
Contact Person: Chris Olsen
Email: Send Email
Phone: 9139568545
Address:6785 w 152nd terrace
City: Overland Park
State: KS
Country: United States
Website: www.rebelssoftball.org


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