After a long volleyball career and a stint in the military, Marilyn Childress' passion for soccer ignited in 1982. From 1983 to 1989 she represented Georgia at more than 30 USSF National Cup team competitions as a goalkeeper.
Childress served as State Officer of the Georgia Amateur Soccer Association from 1987 to 1991 and became the first woman to be President of that organization. She served as President of GASA until 1994 when she received a Special Recognition Award for her involvement in pushing to have women's soccer included in the 1996 Olympics. Childress was also appointed as the official Ambassador for the US Women's Soccer team for the games.
Beginning in 1992, Childress served on the USASA Region III Women's Committee and chaired it for three years; she also served on the USSF Women's Committee and was the USSF Representative to the first FIFA Seminar on Women's Soccer in 1992.
In 1993, Childress was an advisor for and speaker at the first Women's Leadership Conference for Women in Soccer. From 1993 to 1994, she was also an advisor for the Women's Soccer Foundation and became an Advisory Board Member of the Women's Sports Foundation.
In 1995, she developed women's leadership conferences in each region of the United States Amateur Soccer Association. Childress was a chairperson for the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup and was an alternate for the FIFA Women's Symposium that was held that same year.
In 1997, she became a member of the NSCAA Women's and USSF Professional Women's Soccer League Development committees.
During her career, Childress also served as president and co-founder of the Georgia Women's Intersport Network, a group that promotes women in sports throughout the state, established National Girls and Women in Sports Day at the Georgia State Capital and became the namesake of the National Soccer Hall of Fame's 17U Girls Division in the 1994, 1995 and 1996 National Series of Soccer.
In 2001, Childress was nominated into Georgia Soccer's Hall of Fame.