Ahh, Recruiting Wednesday, and I have a good one today. Last Thursday I dropped into Rolla to have a chat with a pair of leaders on the Rolla Lady Bulldog’s team. Sophie Cox and Autumn McEachern were kind enough to sit down with me and fill me in on their college plans.
Sophie was born and raised in Rolla and has been playing soccer since she was five, beginning in the recreational leagues that are prevalent across America these days. She played with the same set of girls on the Iron Kids team until 8th grade. Autumn has bounced between Rolla and Moberly, starting with the same Iron Kids team until joining the Moberly Storm for a couple of years. Her family moved back to Rolla in time to begin High School.
Autumn did not play Club soccer during High School, concentrating instead on other activities in the Fall. She did take part in the SMSU (now MSU) Soccer Camps the past two years which led to her college opportunity. Sophie has been a member of the Busch, now St. Louis, Soccer Club since 8th grade, playing for Scott McDoniel who won a State Championship while playing for CBC in the early 80’s. Her college opportunity came out of the Metro FC College Showcase event in St. Louis last Fall.
Sophie has verbally committed to attending Tennessee-Martin, a Division 1-AA school located in the NW corner of the state close to the KY border and due SE of one of their big rivals, Southeast Missouri State. The school of 6000 competes in the Ohio Valley against SEMO, defeating their rival for the first time ever just this year. The team is in the market for a left outside defender due to graduation. That is Sophie’s position on her club team and within a week of seeing Sophie play, the Coach had contacted her and arranged for her to visit the campus. The visit occured after the season had ended so while Sophie didn’t have an opportunity to see the team play, she was impressed with the girls on the team and with the school. Martin is apparently a lot like Rolla, with an excellent college program in an area of rolling hills, and Sophie is confident she will be happy there. She plans on pursuing a Physical Therapy degree or something in that arena and is considering a coaching career.
Autumn has verbally committed to play at Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC which is 30 miles south of Raleigh, the state capitol. With an enrollment of 8000, the Campbell is a D1 school that competes in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Camels reached the Conference Finals last Fall under new head coach Matt Dillon, who was promoted from assistant coach. The team won the Conference in 2004 and went to the NCAA tournament and have a roster that includes players from NY to FL and out to TX as well as a team leader from Sweden. Autumn is considering Sports Medicine and Psychology as possible majors.
Sophie plays central midfield for the Lady Bulldogs and has been an impact player from the beginning. The statistics for her first two years show 10 and then 21 assists and Co-MVP Midfield for the team in 2004. In 2005 she was voted to the 1st Team All State squad as well as All Ozark 1st team. She is in a position to end up second on the career assist list at Rolla, behind only Anne Felts who just completed her senior season as a starter on the North Carolina ladies squad. Coach Howard describes here thusly:
Soph has worked extremely hard at being a good player. She is a tremendous leader on the field, both verbally and by example. An unselfish player to say the least. As many of our players are at Rolla High School we have asked Soph to play a postion that is probably not best suited for her game, but it is best for our team and Sophie still stands out as one of our best ever.
Autumn is a center forward and she’s a classic. When I asked her to describe her style, without hesitation she described the ‘with my back to the goal, receiving and then taking on the defender 1 v 1’. She was not surprised, or offended, when I indelicately mentioned that she seemed much more petite on the bench as we chatted when compared to the player I saw compete on the pitch in several significant games last Spring. It’s obvious that her competitive spirit is a significant part of her game as well. She has scored 50 goals in her first two seasons, placing her 5th on the career list and 116 total points in that period. She could overtake Kylie Moorman for second, again behind Anne Felts, as this year progresses. Autumn was selected to the 2nd Team All State squad last year as well as 1st team All Ozarks and was MVP Offense the past two years for the Lady Bulldogs. Coach Howard’s description:
Autumn is a pure finisher, plain and simple. Give her the ball around the box and she will find a way to get the ball on target. In my opinion she is most dangerous with her back to goal recieving the ball and turning. She also is a good header of the ball. She also has to be considered one of our best players ever to play at RHS
Well folks, as much as I covered I know I left some things out but I believe you get the point. This is a pair of ‘Danger Girls’ who already have competed in some significant games. It was an 0-4 loss to Glendale in the 2004 Sectional as sophomores, the 2-1 four OT victory over Kickapoo in last year’s Sectional before losing 2-3 to Nerinx Hall in last years Quarterfinal. Good luck to Sophie & Autumn as they chase their State Final ambitions one more time before moving onto Division 1 soccer!