June 13, 2012 — One month after finishing a career filled with victories, Lady Raider midfielder Erin Radle made the biggest decision of her soccer career.
Last Friday afternoon at East Carter High School, Randle finally made it official to suit up as a Lady Bear next fall for the University of Pikeville.
The daughter of Jeff and Sharon Randle of Grayson made the decision after several months of heavy deliberation with parents and coaches.
East Carter Soccer Head Coach Ben Fritz said Randle’s qualities on and off the field make her a desired commodity for any team.
“Erin is an excellent addition to anybody’s team, and UPike picked up a great player,” Fritz said. “We were blessed to have such a great student who is a tremendous young lady. Great vision on the field, combined with her toughness and quickness gives her the ability to blow past anybody. ”
Playing soccer since she was a youngsterd, Randle was a four-year mainstay with the East Carter girls soccer varsity squad.
Randle expressed excitement over the chance to play in UPike orange and black.
“It means so much to me,” Randle said. “I've played soccer since I was about four and to be given an opportunity to play at the next level with a program like UPike is like a dream come true.”
A new season of soccer and college swiftly approaches for the former Lady Raider midfielder, but this is a challenge she says she is looking forward to.
“I've played with a few girls all of my life, so it's going to be difficult seeing them as the opponent on the other team,” Randle said. “College itself will be a new challenge, but I'm fortunate enough to have soccer as a constant through these changing months, which will be a big help in the process.”
Randle is the fifth East Carter student, and sixth from Carter County to move on to play a sport at the college level.
The local athlete noted is it nice to see players from all sports in the school system getting recognition.
“I think that the county is really coming together to showcase the student athletes within the community, and it's great to see colleges recognizing the hard work and dedication small town athletes like myself put into a sport they love,” Randle said.
Like all student athletes who are presented with such an opportunity, Randle took a moment to recognize those who helped to make her dream a reality.
“For every season that's passed there is always someone to look up to for the inspiration they've given me,” Randle said. “I will always say thank you to my father and Kevin Mullins for coaching me and being the building blocks to my soccer career. I want to say thank you to my mother for being at every game and driving me to all my practices, while being supportive and encouraging season after season. I would also like to say thank you to Kassie Holman, who coached my team through some tremendous winning seasons, she made me love the sport and is someone I still look up to today.”
You can catch Randle in her new orange and black gear when she takes the field this fall for UPike when the NAIA season kicks off.
Grant Stevens can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.