FPCA’s Auset Gibbs, signed a scholarship to Southwest Mississippi Community College on Thursday. SMCC, a two-year school that plays in the NJCAA, is in Summit.
Gibbs is no novice to soccer. According to her mother, Denise Collins, Gibbs began playing the sport when she was 4.
As she developed, she began playing club soccer for the Hinesville Soccer Association and later for the Richmond Hill Soccer Club. In the 8th grade, Gibbs began playing varsity soccer for the Highlanders and helped her team win the GISA state championship by scoring one of the goals in the game.
SMCC coach Betty Casey said she is elated to sign Gibbs.
"I received a video from Auset’s brother, to check it out," Casey said. "I watched a minute of the video and realized I hit the jackpot."
The coach said she was impressed by Gibb’s ball handling. Casey, however, was in awe of her speed.
"Her speed is phenomenal," she said. "It will be very difficult to chase her down. With that kind of speed, Auset will dominate the MACJC."
The coach said she sees SMCC as a springboard for the player.
"Auset will gain more national exposure for an easy transfer to her four year school," she said. "I expect an immediate impact on the field from Auset. She shows leadership potential."
Present at her signing were the coaches who helped develop her. FPCA’s soccer coach Tom Sukaratana said Gibbs has come a long way. Every year he has watched her grow stronger. Richmond Hill soccer coach Jared Anderson said he is proud that she has fufilled her goal of playing in college.
FPCA coaches Ami Whilden (volleyball), Lee Christensen and Rosby Frasier (basketball) and Athletic Director Shane Smith were also present.
Wiping back tears, Collins said she was happy her daughter will be able to continue her education and soccer career. Her brothers, Absalom Dowling and Ausar Gibbs, beamed when speaking of their sister. Ausar (Auset’s twin brother) also said he was sad she would be so far away.
"She always motivates and encourages me," he said. "Although I will miss her, I am so happy that she is reaching her goals."
Gibbs intends to earn an associates degree from SMCC and transfer to a four-year school to earn a degree in forensic psychology.
She said she was excited.
"I thank all the coaches and the community that helped me get to this point," Gibbs said. "SMCC will be a good fit for me. It is a close and welcoming environment with a good support system. I am so grateful for this opportunity."