WEBSTER COUNTY, KY (11/6/12) – The next time you’re watching your little 4-year-old run around kicking a soccer ball, you can enjoy the moment and possibility think of Lauren Grant. The Webster County High School senior signed a national ‘letter of intent’ on Thursday to continue her educational and soccer careers at Brescia University in Owensboro. And as the WCHS Honor Student explained, her soccer career began at the tender age of 4.
“I’ve basically been playing soccer all my life, since I was four years old,” she grinned. “And when I was in the sixth grade, I saw one of my WCHS teammates sign to play college soccer. I knew right then that was what I wanted to do. That was my goal ... to play college soccer.”
Grant, the daughter of Troy and Sherri Grant of Clay, honed her skills in the Webster County Youth Soccer League and quickly became a mainstay on the Lady Trojan soccer team. Her talents took center stage as a junior when she blasted opponents as a top-10 scoring leader in the state and pasted her name in the WCHS records books in numerous categories. Her senior season saw quite a change as a very young Lady Trojan squad struggled at times and opposing teams would usually double and triple-team the talented Grant. But that didn’t hamper her enthusiasm of the game or her goal of moving on to the next level of soccer as well as pursue her goal towards physical therapy with a degree in Biology.
“The scholarship money really helps but the biggest thing is that I wasn’t ready to end my soccer career at the high school level. I love soccer and I love to compete and I look forward to the challenge of playing against great competition both in practice and in games,” Grant continued. “I realize the college level is a huge jump (from high school). I recently watched a Brescia match and I was very impressed with the skill level as well as the aggressiveness of the college game, much higher than I expected. I really believe I can play at that level and be an asset to the Lady Bearcat team. I want to set in and contribute as a freshman.”
And according to Brescia head coach Dave Donahue, that’s certainly a possibility. Donahue, who was present at the signing Thursday afternoon, said he discovered Grant quite by accident. On a recruiting trip to Hopkinsville to watch several players on his list, a flash of talent zipped across the field in maroon-and-gold. “Who was that, who is that #7,” Donahue asked.
He quickly found out that #7 was Lauren Grant.
“I thought ... I’ve never heard of her. And I began to watch her (instead of the other girls) and I knew right then I wanted her to come to play for me at Brescia. I went back to watch her several other times and she confirmed my interest in her talents on each visit. Coaches can call and tell you about a player but you see them with your own eyes, that makes a big difference. Every visit Lauren played toughed and I knew I wanted her,” Donahue said. “She’s a tough kid and very talented and I think we’re very fortunate that we can slip in here and sign her. She’s got a great attitude and her grades are terrific. She’s everything a college coach looks for. I’m very happy with this signing. She’s our second signee of the year and I really think she’s a steal and I was very happy when she decided on Brescia this summer.”
Donahue took over the Lady Bearcat program last week after the school halted women’s soccer play for several years. Brescia, competing in the NAIA’s Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC), posted a 5-9 record.
“We accomplished what we sat out to do, win a few games and bring back the enthusiasm for the women’s soccer program,” Donahue explained. “We have a very challenging schedule for next year with trips to Pittsburgh, Chicago and Michigan and now it’s a matter of signing more talented players and Lauren is a prime example. I think she slipped under the radar of other coaches and that’s certainly a plus for Brescia. You couldn’t ask for more than what she’s going to bring to our University.”
With a bright smile and surrounded by family and the current Lady Trojan soccer team on Thursday, Grant was quick to issue her support to all the “4-year-olds” out on the soccer field in Webster County. You can do it too! “I hope the younger kids look up to me and realize that if I can do it, if I can move on and play at the college level, then with hard work and dedication they can do the same. I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished and I hope there are many, many kids that are playing in the youth soccer league today that will follow me and set their goal of playing college soccer,” Grant added. “It seems that everyone wants to earn a scholarship in basketball, but I hope these kids understand that there’s so much more opportunity for them in soccer. When I was little it was ... basketball, basketball. But, when I started playing high school soccer I realized how much I enjoyed it and I wanted to go somewhere with it.”
She also added that being close to home was important, after making recruiting visits to Union College, Georgetown and Campbellsville.
“It’s important to me for my family to be able to watch me play, they give a lot of support and have made it possible for me to advance this far in my career,” she said. I’m excited about the opportunity to play against players that are better than me and practice against them on a daily basis. That will make me a better player and that’s one of my goals, to be the very best player I can be and help rebuild the soccer program at Brescia,” Grant concluded.
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