By DON WALLACE
News-Telegram Sports Editor
Four Sulphur Springs standout soccer players took the step Thursday to continue their soccer careers.
Signing national letters of intent were Payton Pierce with LeTourneau University (Longview) and Kamryn Wimberley, Ciarra Rico and Abbi Hale with Paris Junior College.
Greg Owens, Sulphur Springs athletic director, welcomed the large crowd to the classroom in the multi-purpose building. He said he knew it was an exciting time for students and parents. He also said it was good to see girls involved in the soccer program which set school records get to continue to play soccer in college.
Jesus DeLeon, Head Lady Cats soccer coach said he was proud of all the girls and delighted to see them advance to the college programs they will be playing for next year.
DeLeon said, “Peyton was a three-year starter and a very consistent, brave and dependable player. She was a rock and team leader, she would do anything you ask. She was a co-captain and three year all-district player and starter.”
Pierce is signing with LeTourneau University where her sister, Myranda Pierce, is a team captain.
Peyton Pierce who has been playing soccer since she was three-years-old said she was excited about the chance to play in college and be on the same team with her sister.
“I started thinking during my senior year that I might get the chance to play in college. Now the time in here, I just don’t want to stop playing,” Pierce said. “Playing with Miranda again will be good.”
The defender in soccer said she plans to major in biology.
The wall at the back of the Lady Cats defense, Abbi Hale, also inked to play in college.
“Having Abbi at goalkeeper for us took away a lot of worry. She was always there,” said DeLeon. “She was a three-year starter, also all-district and probably had more than 20 shutouts in her career. She had spectacular athletic ability and always made the crucial save. She’s a very hard worker.”
Hale admitted she is dedicated to becoming even a better player as she shifts to college.
“It will be challenging,” Hale said of the college game. “But I will give it my all. I know we will be competing for positions and I feel confident in what I can do. I had other offers, some out-of-state, but I think PJC is a good option for me right now.”
DeLeon said, “Wimberley was three -years on all-district and starter. She is a very intelligent player and a great defender. She does all the little things that make coaches happy, like step in front of a player to stop a goal.”
Wimberley said, “I felt like staying close too home was good. I will stay a defender and work to do my best at Paris. I’ll miss it here, but I have to move on.”
Wimberley plans on majoring in nursing.
Ciarra Rico said, “I chose PJC to stay close to home. It’s a big bonus that I get to continue playing with some girls I know. I really liked the atmosphere at Paris.”
DeLeon said, “She was a defensive midfielder for us, that position is important, but it doesn’t get many stats. She was a two-year starter and all-district. She will do well at Paris, she’s an anchor on defense and unselfish. She did a fabulous job here.”
Rico said she will major in psychology.
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