In 2019, the University of Florida’s Kouri Peace made the SEC All-Freshman Team before dealing with an ankle injury for some of the 2020 campaign. Now, the star forward is ready to burst back onto the scene in 2021. “What I’m going to do this year is just try to be as dangerous as possible,” Peace told BGN. “I know that my speed is probably one of my most dangerous abilities. I will make sure that I’m getting behind the defenders and playing dangerous balls and just helping the team in whatever way possible.”
That speed that Kouri mentioned was on full display during her impressive track career which included being a six-time National AAU Track & Field sprint medalist and numerous record-setting performances. When asked if that track pedigree helps her on the pitch, she answered, “It definitely helps. I liked getting balls into space and when the ball comes over top, it’s nice knowing in the back of my mind that I probably will be getting there before that outside back, center back or whoever. I look to just get that ball across the box or to score. The speed and pace definitely helps out.”
While she did consider also running track for the Gators, she decided it would be too much to balance staying in track and soccer shape, which she describes as two pretty different things.
Peace got out of the blocks fast this season, scoring the first goal in the team’s first preseason friendly. She said, “I knew that just the little things were going to be very big for me. So scoring the first goal for the season was definitely a huge confidence booster and I’m hoping I can keep doing that for every game.”
That goal vs. Southern Mississippi last week was the product of how Kouri spent the past offseason. ” Heading into this season, I was really focusing on letting my ankle heal and then I was getting back to work with moving the ball around, just getting comfortable and doing some stuff that I personally feel I need to work on,” she explained.
She has high hopes for the team in 2021. “I think we’re going to be a pretty good team I think people are going to be counting us out or kind of having lower expectations,” she said prior to UF’s season opener. “We’re the underdog and that’s the team that usually comes out on top. With the players we have, and also the coaches working together with us, is going to result in a pretty dangerous team on the field.”
She’s also made an impact off the pitch for the Gators as Peace was named to the SEC Community Service Team for her work in the community, including with Climb for Cancer. “Growing up my parents and family really made sure that my sisters and I knew how fortunate, we were and that we needed to give back to our community and to others around us,” Kouri explained. “We always volunteered and it’s followed me into college. I still wanted to give back when I came to the Gainesville community.”
— Gators Soccer (@GatorsSoccer) May 25, 2021
“I’m playing for a really great school and just want to make sure that I’m giving back whatever I can. I’m just really grateful that I’m able to do that. One of my favorite events last year was going to the kindergarten and playing with the kids. I really love working with kids so hoping I can do that again but honestly, I’m up for anything. Once our service calendar comes out, I’m ready to jump on any opportunity and if I can make it, I’ll be there.”
When it comes to what fuels Kouri, on and off the pitch, there’s one primary source according to her teammate Francesca Faraci’s tweet. “Oh my gosh I love Chipotle. I honestly probably eat it every day, and that is no exaggeration,” Peace said. “I get the same exact order every time – don’t change it up at all. It’s a burrito with white rice, no beans, chicken, mild salsa, extra sour cream, cheese, lettuce and, of course, a side of sour cream, because you can never have too much sour cream.”
With the recent change in the NCAA’s NIL stance, who would be a better athlete to sponsor for Chipotle than than Peace? “If anyone from Chipotle is listening or reading, sponsor me! I love you guys,” she said.
Next up on the menu for the Gators and their star forward will be a matchup vs. the in-state rival Miami Hurricanes on Sunday. The match will kick off at 1 PM ET in Gainesville and will be live on SEC Network +.