Wednesday, February 2 marked the class of 2011 National Signing Day for student athletes. Among them, three of Leesville’s star athletes from the women’s soccer team signed an Official Letter of Intent to their respective schools at 7:30 a.m. in front of excited friends, family and members of Leesville’s athletics department.
Stephanie Bronson, Rachel Hunter and Sarah Floyd will play soccer next year on partial or full scholarships.
Bronson signed her Letter of Intent to North Carolina State University on partial scholarship while decked out in Wolfpack red and black. “I’m really excited to be a student athlete,” she said. Bronson will play either midfield or forward.
Hunter committed to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland as a midfielder. She received “full appointment, which is like full scholarship,” Hunter explained.
Floyd will play as a defeneder for Appalachian State University on partial scholarship.
The girls will settle into their dorms in early July and begin preseason training, or, in Hunter’s case, boot camp.
The recruiting process was a stressful time for the three. “It was awkward,” Floyd said. “You had to call up coaches that you didn’t know and tell them ‘I’m the best player ever! You want me on your team!’” Essentially, she said, they were required to brag about themselves to the coaches.
Bronson described the recruitment as “stressful and nerve-racking.” Scouts have been watching her since freshman year, evaluating her at games and even practices. However, Bronson had the luxury of taking her pick of schools and securing her spot at a college in November of her junior year.
Hunter’s seven-month recruiting journey was complicated as well. After verbally committing to UNC Wilmington, she changed her mind to the Navy when she noticed the closeness of the team.
Each of the ladies received multiple offers and chose their school for various reasons.
Floyd selected her school for geographical reasons. Wanting to stay in-state, she shortened the list to Appalachian, NCSU, ECU and UNCW. “State was too close, ECU would be like Leesville all over again and I really didn’t like the coaches at UNCW.” Appalachian, she said, was the right distance away from home. Floyd cites an immediate connection when she visited the campus.
“I’ve been a State fan my whole life,” said Bronson. “I’ve gone to the State summer camps since I was eight. I wanted to go to a big university with good academics and athletic programs, and State was perfect. When I viewed the college campus, I felt a click.”
Hunter mentioned feeling the same “click” at the Navy. “There is such a camaraderie, a sense of family at the school,” she said. She is excited for the opportunities the Navy offers and the people she will soon live with. “Playing soccer there is just an added bonus for me,” she said.
Moving on from high school soccer to the big leagues will surely be a difficult but exciting transition for the three who, together, have won Leesville two state championships.