Soccer players Rebecca Nelson of Liberty County High School and Alicia McCray of Bradwell Institute both signed letters of intent to play soccer at Middle Georgia State College.
Each player held their signing ceremony Wednesday at their respective high-school media centers.
According to MGSU Lady Knights coach Vinny Gill, the school is transitioning to a four year university and recruiting Lady Panther Rebecca Nelson will serve the team for years to come
“In what we are looking forward to doing with the team, she fits the mold of what we need for our current situation,” he said. “Going from a two-year to a four-year school, we realized we were not as athletic as we need to be. Rebecca is a young girl and, with proper coaching and the right situations, she can help us a lot.”
Gill said Nelson will be a center back.
Nelson said she is thrilled to be near her parents, as the school is in Cochran
“I really wanted a school that was closer to home, so that way I could be home when I needed to be,” she said, adding MGSC was the one school that recruited her despite a stellar soccer career. “I think it is because I didn’t live here my first two years of my high school career,” she said.
Nelson plans to study criminal justice and minor in psychology.
“I would say I’m ambitious,” she said of her career choice and desire to work hard during the summer to be ready to play. “I’m going to wake up every morning at 6 in the morning and run 2 miles and go work out every day, and I already have a summer plan with my strength and conditioning coach (Keith McGee) and will spend my summer getting ready.”
Nelson’s parents, Allen and Anna Nelson, said she started kicking the soccer ball around when she was 8 years old.
“This is going to open up doors for her,” her dad said. “It lets her take her love of soccer….and be able to get an education as well.
About an hour after Nelson signed, McCray was with friends and family as Gill introduced her as a future Lady Knight during her ceremony.
“She can play forward, midfield … she can play everywhere … she is one that we are bringing in because we think she will be able to compete with the higher competition,” Gill said. “She is coming in a little bit behind Rebecca (Nelson) in some regards, but in the long term she has speed, she has size and she is definitely one that we are bringing in for our team’s future.”
McCray and Nelson both played under Tom Sukaratana for the Hinesville Gators recreational league. McCray said Sukaratana advised her to check into MGSC.
“I knew they had a good program based on the way coach Tom was talking about it,” she said. “I went there and I interacted with the girls, and I really liked the environment, the coaches and my future teammates.”
McCray’s sister, Carla Habedank, moved her younger sibling to tears by saying she was proud that her sister was living her dreams and doing the things that she herself had not been able to do in her high-school years.
McCray plans to study engineering technology.
Gill said his long-standing friendship with Sukaratana was among one of the reasons he knew he could ensure the players will be great assets to the program.
The Knights play in the Southern States Athletic Conference, which Gill said is the toughest conference in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.