Published: 01:34 AM, Thu Feb 09, 2012
Five Terry Sanford soccer players going on to play for Division I universities
Terry Sanford soccer coach C.J. Komons wanted to give the seniors seated beside him in the school media center an idea of how special they are by crunching the numbers.
Starting with 8 million - the number of soccer players in the U.S. - Komons worked his way down group by group, giving the stats for high school female soccer players (740,000), how many move on to collegiate soccer (66,000), and the few who make it to a Division I program (8,600).
"About one percent of all high school soccer players get to play Division I," the coach said. "And the remarkable thing is that we have five at the same school in the same grade."
Taylor Cavazos, Melanie Cusi, Courtney Deblois, Theresa O'Sullivan and Meagan Speck each signed letters-of-intent Wednesday afternoon to play for Division I programs.
Cavazos, seated at the end of the table with her right leg braced, committed to Campbell.
The senior had surgery Thursday to repair the anterior cruciate ligament she's torn twice, an injury she said presented a challenge to her recruitment process.
"I lost some of the colleges over time especially after I tore my ACL the first time," Cavazos said. "But Campbell stuck with me."
O'Sullivan, a UNC-Wilmington signee, had a similar experience when she followed a torn ACL with a severe concussion her junior year.
"I had looked at ACC schools and the Naval Academy," O'Sullivan said. "But some of those bigger schools showed their true colors after my injuries."
For Deblois, the road to recruitment was easier. Deblois is the lone out-of-state commit in the class, signing with USC-Upstate.
"When I first met the coach (Renee Lopez), it was so easy to talk to her," Deblois said. "I really liked the vision she had for the program. It just felt like home."
Cusi will be the farthest from home next season when she attends UNC-Asheville.
Cusi led Cumberland County in assists last season with 12, just edging Speck, who settled at 11 assists while leading the Bulldogs in goals with 17.
Cusi said she was hoping Speck would join her at UNC-Asheville, but Speck ultimately settled on UNC-Charlotte.
Speck got a late start in her search for colleges after moving with her family from Guam and joining the Bulldogs midseason during her junior year.
"I was pretty late in the process," Speck said. "And I was pretty open to looking at a lot of the state schools."
With the end of the long process marked by their signing Tuesday, Deblois and Speck both spoke about the impact of putting their signatures on their official paperwork.
"This is what we've been working toward since we were six years old," Speck said.
"You sacrifice so much," Deblois said. "You wonder if it's really all worth it. But in moments like this, you know it was. And now, you get to have a new goal and new dream."
Staff writer Jaclyn Shambaugh can be reached at 609-0651 or email@example.com.