Verner takes on different roles during football and soccer season
By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor
Mar. 21, 2007 - Whether it's on the sidelines of a football game or in the midst of the soccer pitch, Erica Verner isn't one to make the headlines. That is a reflection on her role, not her value.
For Wildcat football fans, Verner is the girl inside the Wally the Wildcat suit where she entertains without being seen. For soccer fans, she plays right back, a position where she keeps the other team from mounting an offensive attack.
SSHS soccer coach Martin Bryant likes to have smart girls play defense for him. It's no coincidence that Verner fits that profile. A future pediatrician, she moved from sweeper to right back this year, a switch that came easily for the Sulphur Springs senior.
"Erica's one I moved over to the right side and she'll do her job," said Bryant. "She'll follow a player down in the corner, and she'll do the dirty work if she needs to. She's a good, smart, aggressive player who knows what she's doing."
Verner is a three-year letterman and two-time All-District honoree. She also played volleyball for three years and is a member of the Hi King Club, Key Club and Spanish Club and has taken Health Science Technology the last two years. It was through that class she decided to turn her future career toward medicine.
"I like to go to the hospital and shadow and get to see other professions," said Verner, who works part-time for Jordan Health Services. "I want to be a pediatrician, and that's what helped me decide. I wanted to be a teacher for a long time before I got into Health Science, then I decided to get into the medical profession."
It's her acuity that has helped her in soccer.
"You have to set yourself up not to get beat by their forward. You have to be real smart," Verner explained. "You can't go for the ball when you're out of position and get beat."
The Lady Cats will have to be smart and good on Thursday when they take on state-ranked McKinney Boyd in the opening round of the UIL playoffs. The game is set for 7 p.m. at Ron Poe Stadium in McKinney.
They have achieved one of their goals by making it to the playoffs. The Lady Cats finished third in District 16-4A.
"We wanted to make it to the playoffs - that was our biggest goal. We wanted to make a difference because people said we couldn't do it because of last year," said Verner, the daughter of John and Michelle Verner.
"I like the team because we're all best friends. When we're out of soccer, we're still friends, and I think that has helped us."